Apicectomy is the medical term that describes the surgical removal of the root tip. A tooth is divided into two main parts; the crown that is visible in the mouth and the roots that support the tooth within the jawbone. The roots usually have a tapering end referred to as the root tip.
Sometimes, this root tip may have to be surgically removed from the tooth for it to be saved from extraction.
When is apicectomy needed?When a tooth has fractured and the root tip is broken. When there is recurrent infection even after root canal treatment. When a cyst forms around the roots. A severely curved tooth root that need root canal treatment. When there is root perforation during root canal treatment. Teeth with artificial caps or posts. Damaged root surfaces and surrounding bone-requiring surgery.
How is apicectomy done?
This is a minor surgical procedure, which is done under local anaesthesia on the dentist chair. Sedation maybe opted for in some cases. It takes around 45 minutes to one hour.
1. The specific tooth is numbed.
2. The gum around it is cut and lifted to expose the bone and root of the tooth.
3. Some bone may be trimmed to expose the root tip.
4. Two- 3mm of the root tip is removed using the dental drill.
5. The tooth canal is cleaned and sealed as well as the root apex.
6. The gum is repositioned and sutured back to its position.
What is expected after the surgery?Swelling that goes down in one –two weeks. Pain that can be relieved by painkillers. Numbness of the area if nerves were involved. Soreness of the gum due to the surgical wound.
Do’s and don’ts after apicectomyTake your medications and rest. Put ice pack on the region. Eat soft diets. Brush gently and gargle with warm salty water. Avoid disturbing the area and lifting the lip
N/B In case apicectomy fails, the tooth has to be extracted