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FREQUENTLY ASKED ORAL SURGERY QUESTIONS
Apicectomy

We realise that many patients are apprehensive about the prospect of an Oral Surgery procedure and aim to provide a caring, stress-free environment to help alleviate your worries.
We hope that the following information will give you a little more info on any questions you have prior to your visit.

What is an apicectomy?

An apicectomy is performed when an infection has occurred at the tip of the root or roots of teeth and it spreads into the surrounding bone that supports the tooth. This may not cause any symptoms but in most cases there is discomfort in the area, episodes of swelling, pain, gum boils or a bad taste. If the infection is left untreated the infection may spread and possibly develop into an abscess or cyst and damage the bone around the adjacent teeth. Antibiotics will not cure the infection, but they are sometimes prescribed to give temporary relief of symptoms.

Why do I need an apicectomy?

When you have an infection at the tip of the root your dentist will have removed the nerve in the tooth and placed a root filling (root canal treatment). An apicectomy is indicated if the infection persists despite the root canal treatment.
An apicectomy is a surgical procedure which aims to:
- Remove an infected root tip
- Clean out the surrounding infection
- Place a filling to cap and seal off the new end of the tooth.
In some cases, it is preferable to repeat the root canal therapy but this is not always possible or practical

How is the apicectomy carried out?

An apicectomy is usually carried out under local anaesthesia. The gum tissue surrounding the infected root tip is gently raised and the infection is cleaned out. The infected root tip is then removed and a special cement packed over the new end of the root. This sets over the root end and seals off any open channels in the root which could lead to another infection. The gum tissue is put back in place with dissolvable stitches to allow for healing. These stitches can take up to two weeks to dissolve.

How successful are apicectomies?

It is possible that the procedure will not completely resolve the problem and the infection can return months or even years later. Success rates for first apicectomies are typically 75 – 80%. The apicectomy may need to be repeated or the tooth extracted. Success rates are redcued for repeat procedures. The suitability of apicectomy treatment can only be determined after a thorough examination of the tooth’s appearance and x-rays.

What can I expect after the procedure?

You should not feel any pain immediately after the operation as the area will be numb from the local anaesthetic. As the numbness wears off, the area will be uncomfortable and you will require some painkillers. You may also be prescribed antibiotics. Some people experience facial swelling and bruising after the procedure. This usually resolves within 10 -14 days. Following an apicectomy, there can be a small amount of recession (shrinkage) of the gum margin on the front of your tooth. This can affect the tooth’s appearance especially if the tooth has been crowned and in some cases may necessitate a new crown or bridge. Keeping the site of surgery clean is very important to try and minimise this complication.

How long does the procedure take?

This depends on your individual case and whether you have the procedure performed under local anaesthsia alone or with additonal intravenous sedation. The usual time is from 30 – 90 minutes.

Please read the following instrutions which will help bring about a quick recovery after your procedure.

CLICK FOR POST-OPERATIVE CARE ADVICE