Happily, a root canal is usually all that you need to treat an infection in your inner tooth. But when inflammation or infection returns at the tip of the root, or in the bone surrounding the tip, your dentist may recommend that you see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon like Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter for further diagnosis and treatment.
And often when pain, inflammation, or infection recur after a root canal, we may suggest an apicoectomy—a procedure that can save your natural tooth and prevent further infection or damage to the neighboring bone and teeth.
- Just what is an apicoectomy?
The tip of a root is also called its “apex.” An apicoectomy means the surgical removal (“ectomy”) of the apex (“apico”) of a tooth’s root.
- How does the procedure work?
Often local anesthesia is all that is needed. (But if you have concerns, talk to us about your anesthesia and sedation options. We are expert in all forms of anesthesia.)
After the area is numb, an incision is made in the gum tissue to allow access to the root and any affected bone tissue.
Dr. Ford and Dr. Guter will carefully remove the tip of the root and any damaged or infected tissue from the bone surrounding it. The root end will then be cleaned and sealed.
Stitches or sutures will be used to close the incision, which will either dissolve on their own or which will be removed on a follow-up visit. We will let you know just how to take care of the site after surgery.
In general, any pain or sensitivity after the procedure can be treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relief such as ibuprofen. Patients should follow post-op instructions carefully to reduce any swelling, and be sure to follow any dietary suggestions and restrictions.
- Why choose an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for your apicoectomy?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon has the training and skill to perform this specialized procedure. After dental school, oral surgeons pursue four to six years of additional advanced medical studies at a residency-based hospital.
They train with medical residents in the fields of anesthesiology, general surgery, internal medicine, and other surgical areas, concentrating on the bone, skin, and muscle of the face and jaw. They are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat oral conditions that require a surgical solution, and routinely perform procedures such as apicoectomies.
Happily, a root canal is usually all that you need to treat an infection in your inner tooth. But if you have recurring or new pain or infection after a root canal, and if you want to preserve your natural tooth, an apicoectomy at our Virginia Beach, VA office is an option well worth investigating.