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What Is It?
Your teeth are held in place by roots that extend into your jawbone. Front teeth usually
have one root. Other teeth, such as your premolars and molars, have two or more roots.
The tip of each root is called the apex. Nerves and blood vessels enter the tooth through
the apex, travel through a canal inside the root, and into the pulp chamber, which is inside
the crown (the part of the tooth visible in the mouth).

An apicoectomy may be needed when an infection develops or persists after root canal
treatment or retreatment. During root canal treatment, the canals are cleaned and inflamed
or infected tissue is removed. Root canals are very complex, with many small branches off
the main canal. Sometimes, even after root canal treatment, infected debris can remain in
these branches and possibly prevent healing or cause re-infection later.
In an apicoectomy, the root tip, or apex, is removed along with the infected tissue.
A filling is then placed to seal the end of the root.

An apicoectomy is sometimes called endodontic microsurgery because the procedure is done under an operating microscope.

What It's Used For
If a root canal becomes infected again after a root canal has been done, it's often
because of a problem near the apex of the root. Your endodontist can do an apicoectomy to
fix the problem so the tooth doesn't need to be extracted. An apicoectomy is done only after
a tooth has had at least one root canal procedure.

In many cases, a second root canal treatment is considered before an apicoectomy.
With advances in technology, dentists often can detect additional canals that were not
adequately treated and can clear up the infection by doing a second root canal procedure,
thus avoiding the need for an apicoectomy.

An apicoectomy is not the same as a root resection. In a root resection, an entire
root is removed, rather than just the tip.

Sean P. Hart D.D.S ,M.S.D., P.C.
1533 Kossuth St. Lafayette Indiana 47905
p: 765-742-8792