Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save a tooth with an injured pulp from extraction. Occasionally, a root canal procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your dentist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on x-rays but still manifest pain in the tooth and may be a continued source of infection. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with this procedure. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.
What is an Apicoectomy?
The diagram below illustrates this procedure. An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months restoring full function.
Video Animation: Apical Surgery – Anterior – No Sinus Tract:
Following the procedure, there may be some discomfort or slight swelling while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended.