Root Canal Surgery (Apicoectomy)

Why Would I Need Root Canal Surgery?

Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save teeth with injured pulp from extraction. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on x-rays but still manifest pain in the tooth. 

When a tooth has undergone a root canal, you can expect that it will last a lifetime. However, in rare cases, a tooth may not heal or become infected. In instances like these, surgery may be the best option. Surgery allows us to examine the root of the tooth, isolate the problem and provide treatment to alleviate the pain and protect the tooth.

What is an apicoectomy?

An apicoectomy is a minor surgery that removes the tip of the tooth’s root. This may be necessary if an infection continues after a root canal. The procedure itself involves first numbing the patient, then making a small incision through the gums surrounding the tooth. This allows us to access the underlying bone and infection. Usually, a small fragment of the end of the root is removed and a filling is placed to seal the remaining end. The procedure itself is painless and recovery is quick. Patients can expect to return to their normal activities by the next day.

Reasons for endodontic surgery:

Sometimes calcium deposits can make a canal too narrow for the instruments used in a nonsurgical root canal to reach the end of the root. If the tooth has calcification, surgery can be done to clean and seal the remainder of the canal.

While it’s rare, if a tooth does not improve after a root canal and becomes infected or more painful, surgery may help save the tooth.

There are many surgical procedures to save a tooth, but the most common is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.