Ideally, a root canal removes the infection from a tooth; however, the root of the tooth may have many small branches where the infection can hide or return. If a tooth becomes infected again after a root canal has been performed, our team of dentists usually recommends an apicoectomy. A long-lasting solution, an apicoectomy removes the infected tissue along the root of the tooth, as well as the infected root tip(s). Sometimes referred to as endodontic microsurgery or root-end resection, an apicoectomy can save the visible portion of your tooth if you have a restoration, like a bridge or crown. If you have had one or multiple unsuccessful root canal treatments, contact Western Mass Endodontics in Greenfield, Hadley, and Northampton, MA today to find a more effective solution with an apicoectomy.
Candidates for an apicoectomy will have had a root canal treatment, but the infection has remained or returned in the root tips. When you have a root canal, a dental crown or bridge is often placed to strengthen and protect the treated tooth. This makes a second root canal or retreatment difficult if an infection reoccurs because it could destroy or weaken the crown or bridge. In these cases, an apicoectomy at Western Mass Endodontics can be the best procedure to clear up the existing infection and prevent future infections from occurring.
What to Expect
Prior to performing any treatment, one of our dentists will examine your mouth and then explain your options before deciding on an apicoectomy. For the actual procedure, a local anesthetic will be administered. Sedation options may be used depending on the extent of the procedure or if you have dental fears or anxiety. Your dentist will begin by making an incision in your gums to expose the root of the tooth. The infected tissue and root tip will be removed before the area is cleaned with special instruments. To ensure all the infected areas are treated, a special dye can help to highlight cracks in your tooth. Once the tooth canal is cleaned and sealed, your dentist will close the incision in your gums with sutures.
Following the procedure, we may prescribe pain medication or antibiotics for you to take. You may want to apply ice packs or cold compresses to help combat swelling for the first few hours after your treatment. You may have some soreness, numbness, or bruising for a few days. Your dentist will give you specific instructions for your recovery at home. To help speed healing, you should avoid hard foods and aggressive cleaning. You may need to return to our office in 2 – 7 days to have your stitches removed. Typically, your mouth should be healed in about two weeks after the procedure. To avoid further problems, you should follow an oral care routine at home with daily brushing and flossing. In addition, you should schedule annual dental exams and bi-annual cleanings at Western Mass Endodontics, so we can monitor your oral health and treat issues at the earliest signs.
Generally, an apicoectomy will be covered at least partially by your dental insurance. Our team will contact your insurance provider to determine any additional costs. For the remaining out-of-pocket costs and for patients without insurance, we accept many payment methods. During your consultation, we can tell you about low-interest medical financing that can help make your treatment more affordable.
If you still have an infected tooth following one or several root canal treatments, an apicoectomy at Western Mass Endodontics may be a good solution. An apicoectomy treats the infection in the root tips without disturbing dental restorations (crowns and bridges). To learn more or to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified dentists, contact one of our offices in northern MA today.