What the heck is an apicoectomy? (Pronounced “ey-pi-koh-tuh-mee”)
If you have had a root canal sometime in the past and that tooth is now painful or swollen, you might need an apicoectomy.
What does an apioectomy do?
Dr. Faghih specializes in endodontics and performs apicoectomies to save natural teeth. This procedure is needed when an infection develops at the very tip of the root (or apex) of the tooth. This new, high-tech procedure can save infected teeth, rather than having them pulled. Here’s how.
Teeth are held in place by their roots, and have 1 – 4 roots per tooth. Nerves and blood vessels enter the tooth at the tip of the root, travel up and down the root canal of the tooth, and to the pulp chamber of the tooth, which is within the crown.
A root canal procedure is performed starting from the crown inward, where an infection within the root canal is cleaned out and the canal itself is filled and sealed from the surface.
Sometimes, infected tissue can remain within one of the canals or become re-infected years later. This is where endodontic microsurgery comes in to help!
Endodontists can perform a microsurgery that is performed under a microscope to completely eliminate the infection and literally save the tooth.
How is this performed?
Dr. Faghih numbs the gum area surrounding the tooth with a local anesthetic and makes a small incision through the gum to the tip of the tooth. He removes all the infected tissue around the root and the root tip itself. He uses state-of-the-art technology such as an operating microscope and ultrasonic instruments. The light and magnification allows him to see the area clearly to remove all the infection. Then, a filling is placed in the tip of the root to seal off the root canal and a stitch is placed in the gum tissue to close the incision. This procedure allows the bone tissue to heal around the root.
And the good news is that this is a permanent solution! This specialized treatment was designed to preserve natural teeth rather than having them pulled.
How long does it take?
The procedure takes about 30-90 minutes. Gums may be sore or swollen for a few days afterwards, and stitches are removed in about 4 days. Most people feel that it’s sure worth it to save the tooth!
What about recovery?
Post-operative care is essential to prevent complications or infections. Recovery tips include:
- Apply cold compress to area occasionally during the 10-12 hours after surgery.
- Avoid strenuous activity.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication (like ibuprofen) if uncomfortable.
- Avoid crunchy or hard foods.
- Avoid brushing your teeth & gums.
- Don’t smoke.
- Listen to any other advice from Dr. Faghih.
Do I need an apioectomy?
Things to consider in deciding on this treatment:
- Are you experiencing tooth pain in a tooth that has had a root canal in the past?
- Is your tooth sensitive to hot or cold?
- Do you have swelling around the teeth or gums?
If so, please call Dr.Faghih at 425-644-7444. He will know the best procedure for you.