Sometimes there can be a painful infection (an abscess) at the end of a tooth root, in the surrounding bone. An ‘apicectomy’ gives the dentist surgical access to the infected area so that the infection can be cleaned up and the tooth saved.
An apicectomy will usually be carried out on a tooth which has already been root-filled.
What does the dentist do?
- A local anaesthetic numbs the mouth around the infected tooth so that the procedure is painless;
- A small incision is made in the gum, well away from the tooth.
- A small flap of gum is then moved to one side to uncover the infected area;
- The dentist cleans out the infection;
- A small filling may be put at the end of the root canal to stop further infection;
- The gum can be stitched back into place.
You may feel some pressure and hear instruments being used, but you should not feel pain during the procedure. There may be bruising and swelling for two or three days afterwards. There will also be some discomfort but it shouldn’t be too severe, and icepack or a packet of frozen peas placed on the cheek can help. It usually takes about a week for and apicectomy to heal.
What are the benefits?
- An apicectomy stops pain;
- This is a way of saving a tooth which would otherwise have to be extracted.