Most dental problems involving an infected tooth root are solved by a root canal, with studies showing success rates of up to 90 percent for this procedure. But in some cases, additional dental treatment may be needed, such as an apicoectomy, or root end surgery.
What Is an Apicoectomy?
This type of oral surgery procedure is defined as "the removal of the tip of a tooth root," which is done to save the tooth from being pulled out; keeping your teeth intact is the dentist's mission. Typical reasons for an apicoectomy may include re-infection of the root canal site with signs like pain in the tooth, tenderness or swollen gums that occurs after a root canal.
What Happens During an Apicoectomy
Teeth are held in place by tooth roots. The tips of each root, called the apex, serve as an entrance for nerves and blood vessels into the tooth.
During an apicoectomy, the apex is removed, along with the infected tissue, and then sealed with a tooth filling.
Done with a surgical microscope, this procedure is also known as endodontic microsurgery and usually takes between 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the tooth's location and complexity of the root structure.
Though general dentists can do an apicoectomy, most are performed by endodontists, or root canal experts.