Apicectomy: Purpose, Preparation, Procedure, Risks, Recovery, and Results

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An apicectomy is a dental procedure in which any infected and inflamed tissue is removed during a root canal procedure. It is important because it helps to prevent future infections, and in turn future root canals. If an infection occurs after a root canal, either another root canal will need to be performed, or more extensive surgery may be required.

Why is This Procedure Done?

This procedure is done to remove infected and inflamed tissue that is found during a root canal. By removing this tissue, a root canal can fully heal. This procedure is also done to help prevent an infection from recurring.

What is the Required Preparation?

Before a patient has this procedure, their dentist will take x-rays of the affected tooth and the bone that surrounds it. Patients will use an antimicrobial rinse, will receive a course of antibiotics, and will receive medications to combat the inflammation. The dentist will then go over the patient’s dental and medical history.

How is This Procedure Performed and What is Involved?

An endodontist will begin by cutting the gum and lifting it from the tooth so that they can access the root. A small portion of the root tip and the infected tissue will be removed. A breaks and cracks in a tooth will then be highlighted with a dye to determine if the tooth should be extracted. The end of the tooth canal will then be cleansed and closed. The tooth and surrounding area will then be x-rayed again to make sure the procedure was a success and then the endodontist will stitch the tissues back into place.

What are the Risks?

One of the biggest risks is that the surgery will not be a success. If this occurs, the patient may need to have their tooth extracted. Other possible risks include affecting the sinuses, infection, congestion, and nerve damage. If a patient experiences swelling or pain, or develops a fistula, they should call their dentist as soon as possible.

What is the Recovery Like?

Patients may experience soreness and mild pain for a few days. They may also experience some swelling and bruising. Patients will have to restrict what they drink and eat for a few days. Patients will have to avoid brushing that area of their mouth for a few days. They may be prescribed and antibiotic and a pain medication. They should not smoke when they are recovering. Most patients should be fully recovered within two weeks.


Health Development Advice. (2009). Apicectomy. Retrieved on October 23, 2009 from Website: https://www.hda-online.org.uk/dentistry/apicectomy/index.html