Who Needs Apexification?

Whenever a new tooth pops through the gums, it’s still not fully formed. Even though the visible portion (crown) looks complete, the portion under your gums (root) has some more growing to do. 

Your tooth root makes up two-thirds of your tooth, and it’s what keeps it stable in your jawbone. However, after your new tooth has emerged, it takes three years for the tip of the root (apex) to close fully. 

If you need a root canal before the apex has closed, you require an endodontic procedure called apexification. This treatment seals the open apex to prepare the tooth for the necessary root canal.

At Robert Scott Nance, DDS, MS, PA, in Statesville and Hickory, North Carolina, endodontist Dr. Nance and our team offer apexification to ensure your tooth is strong before undergoing a root canal. In this blog, we explore what you need to know about this procedure. 

Why apexification is necessary

When you have a tooth root that isn’t fully formed, that opening gives bacteria the perfect opportunity to enter your tooth. The bacteria can cause infection, decay, and damage to your nerves and pulp inside your tooth. 

Fortunately, this damage doesn’t mean you’ll need a tooth extraction. Dr. Nance can repair the issues with a root canal. During a root canal, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and filled with a rubbery dental material. 

However, if you have a tooth root that’s still underdeveloped, there’s nothing to keep this new filling inside the tooth. So, for a successful root canal, Dr. Nance must first close the apex.

How does apexification work?

If Dr. Nance determines you still have an open apex in your tooth, we will schedule an apexification to seal the tooth root before moving forward with a root canal.  

Apexification is performed similarly to a root canal. Dr. Nance starts by numbing the area with a local anesthetic before placing a rubber dam over your affected tooth. 

Next, he drills an access hole so he can clean the tooth. Then, he seals the open apex with a dental material — either trioxide aggregate or calcium hydroxide — to create a calcific barrier.

About six months after your apexification, Dr. Nance checks the tooth to ensure you can still feel pressure and temperature. If the apex is sealed properly, we can perform the root canal.

For more information on apexification, contact our team by calling your nearest office location.

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