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Understanding Apical Surgery: What is it and When is it Needed?

December 11, 2023
Understanding Apical

Apical surgery, also known as a root-end resection, is a procedure that is performed to remove root-end infection when traditional root canal therapy alone is falling short.  It involves removing the infected or damaged tissue from the root of the tooth and sealing it with a filling to help the body heal.

If you have been experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, and your tooth already has gone through a traditional root canal therapy, apical surgery may be a viable option to save your tooth and restore your dental health.

Understanding Apical Surgery

Apical surgery is a dental procedure that is used to treat tooth infections that have spread beyond the apex of the tooth.  This procedure is generally used when other treatment options, such as root canal therapy, have failed to treat the infection. During the procedure, the dentist will remove the infected tissue from the root end of the tooth and then seal the root with a filling to prevent further infection.

Apical surgery is a minor surgical procedure that is typically performed in an endodontic specialty dental office. The procedure is usually completed in one visit, although some patients may need to return for additional appointments depending on the severity of their infection. The success rate of apical surgery is high, with most patients experiencing significant improvement in their dental health following the procedure. In many cases, this procedure can save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted.

When is Apical Surgery Necessary?

Apical surgery is typically recommended when a tooth has become infected or has suffered damage that cannot be treated with other dental procedures. Some common reasons why a patient may need apical surgery include:

  • Chronic or recurring infections in the root of a tooth after a traditional root canal
  • therapy
  • A cracked or fractured tooth root that already had a root canal
  • A tooth that has become damaged due to trauma or injury after a root canal
  • therapy has been done
  • A tooth that has failed to respond to root canal therapy

In many cases, dental X-rays and cone beam CT will be used to determine whether apical surgery is necessary. If the imaging reveals an infection or damage to the tooth root, the endodontic dental specialist may recommend this procedure.

Signs that indicate the need for Apical Surgery

If your tooth has an existing root canal treatment and are experiencing dental pain or swelling, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Some common signs that may indicate the need for apical surgery include:

  • Severe tooth pain that does not improve with over-the-counter pain medication
  • Swelling or tenderness in the gums around the affected tooth
  • A bump or pimple on the gum near the affected tooth
  • Pus or discharge coming from the affected tooth

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your dentist right away. Left untreated, an infected tooth can lead to serious health complications, including the spread of infection to other parts of the body.

The Apical Surgery Procedure

Before the procedure, your endodontic dental specialist will conduct a thorough examination of your tooth and take X-rays and cone beam CT to determine the extent of the infection or damage. You will be given anesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth, and a small incision will be made in the gum to access the tooth root.

The dentist will then remove the infected or damaged tissue from the root of the tooth and clean the area thoroughly. Once the infected tissue has been removed, the dentist will fill the root with a biocompatible material in order to seal it.  The gum tissue will then be sutured closed, and you will be given instructions for post-operative care and recovery.

Preparing for Apical Surgery

Before undergoing apical surgery, your dentist will provide you with instructions for preparing for the procedure. These may include:

  • Taking antibiotics or other medications as prescribed by your dentist
  • Talk with your physician if you are taking blood thinners
  • Arranging for transportation to and from the dental office
  • Discussing any concerns or questions you may have about the procedure with your dentist 

It is important to follow all instructions provided by your dentist to ensure a safe and

successful procedure.

Post-operative care and recovery

After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort or swelling around the affected tooth. Your dentist may prescribe pain medication or recommend over-the- counter pain relievers to help manage your symptoms. You should also avoid eating hard or crunchy foods and follow any other instructions provided by your dentist for post-operative care.

In most cases, patients can return to their normal activities within a few days of the procedure. However, it is important to attend any follow-up appointments with your dentist to ensure that the procedure was successful and that the infection or damage has been properly treated.

Apical Surgery in Florida

Apical surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can help save a tooth that has become infected or damaged beyond repair. If you are experiencing dental pain or sensitivity, it is important to schedule an appointment with your endodontics specialist as soon as possible to determine whether apical surgery may be necessary. To do this, contact us at 407-347-6874.

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Advanced Endodontics
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