During a root canal procedure, a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist), removes infected tissue from inside the root of a tooth. Then he or she refers you back to your general dentist to cover the tooth with a crown or other type of restoration.
Usually, a tooth that has had a root canal procedure can last a lifetime without problems. However, some people develop problems in their tooth after the procedure. For example, the tooth may become painful or it may become infected.
In these cases, a surgical procedure called apicoectomy can help save the tooth.
Your endodontist or general dentist will give you local anesthetics, or painkillers, before an apicoectomy. These numb the area so it won’t hurt.
During the procedure, the endodontist or dentist opens the gum near the bone. Then he or she may need to remove the swollen or infected tissue. A small piece of the end of the root may be removed as well. He or she may also place a filling in the root to seal the root canal. At the end of the procedure, he or she will close up the gum with a few stitches.
As your mouth heals after this procedure, you may notice some slight pain or swelling for a few days, which is normal. It usually takes a few months for the bone to heal after an apicoectomy.
“Root Canals.” American Association of Endodontists. http://www.aae.org/Patients/Root_Canals.aspx Accessed 2013.
“Apicoectomy.” American Association of Endodontists. http://www.aae.org/Patients/Apicoectomy.aspx Accessed 2013.
“Your Endodontic Surgery.” American Association of Endodontists. http://www.aae.org/Patients/Your_Endodontic_Surgery.aspx Accessed 2013.