Brushing, flossing, and making regular visits to your dentist are important steps for your oral health. Unfortunately, you may still develop issues that affect your smile's appearance and the underlying health of your mouth, teeth, and gums. Although usually effective for saving infected teeth, root canal procedures are not ideal for patients with crowns or dental implants. To remove infected pulp in the hopes of saving a tooth, surgeons can also perform an apicoectomy. With this guide, you will have a better understanding of the apicoectomy procedure.
The 411 on an Apicoectomy
During a traditional root canal, a small hole is drilled into the back of the infected tooth. This gives the surgeon access to the pulp chamber, ensuring infected tissue and bacteria is removed and disinfected. Then, the hole is sealed up using dental-grade filler and sealant.
If you have a dental crown or implant, the entire restoration will need to be removed before the root canal procedure can begin. In addition, patients may develop infections if the infection is not treated effectively and efficiently. Therefore, an apicoectomy may be a safer, more effective option.
During the apicoectomy, a small incision is made in the gum tissue near the affected root. This gives the surgeon direct access to the infected root and pulp, allowing the most effective removal. After cleaning and disinfecting, a small filling is added and the incision is sutured up.
Are You a Candidate?
As stated before, conducting an apicoectomy is best suited for patients who have undergone smile restorations. If you have crowns or dental implants, you are a good candidate for the apicoectomy.
Patients who have undergone a traditional root canal procedure and have another infection should consider the apicoectomy, as well.
It is important to note that the surgery does require anesthesia, so children and the elderly are not ideal candidates. Also, patients who are pregnant, have diabetes, or live with an immune disorder should not have an apicoectomy. Since these patients have a low immunity, healing and recovery may be difficult after the procedure.
You should not experience any pain after the procedure. However, you may have some swelling and light bleeding in the gums.
Depending on the closure used, sutures may be removed 2 to 7 days after surgery or they may dissolve on their own. Applying ice to the area for a few minutes will alleviate any discomfort. Taking ibuprofen will reduce inflammation and swelling.
Avoid brushing rigorously while your sutures are still in place. Do not smoke, use chewing tobacco, or eat hard, crunchy foods during your recovery.
An apicoectomy is a great treatment for saving an infected tooth, but proper understanding is important. With this guide, you will understand the difference between a standard root canal treatment and the innovative apicoectomy.