Procedures > Root Canal vs. Apicoectomy
Root Canal Vs. Apicoectomy
Difference Between a Root Canal and an Apicoectomy
Root canals and apicoectomies are both common procedures performed by our endodontists in Rochester. A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat infected or damaged pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth) by removing it and cleaning the inside of the tooth. An apicoectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove the end of the tooth’s root and any infected tissue surrounding it. Both procedures are used to save a damaged or infected tooth, but a root canal is typically used to treat the inside of the tooth, while an apicoectomy is used to treat the end of the root. An apicoectomy is also usually recommended when a patient has had a previous root canal but still experiences pain or infection.
It’s important to know, however, that both these dental treatments are used to treat different types of problems, and we want to make sure you understand the difference between them. You are also welcome to contact our office if you have further questions!
What is an Apicoectomy?
An apicoectomy, on the other hand, is a surgical procedure used to remove the tip of the tooth’s root. This procedure is typically recommended when a patient has had a previous root canal but still experiences pain or infection. An apicoectomy is typically done when the infection is located at the end of the tooth’s root, which cannot be accessed by a standard root canal.
Reasons you may need an Apicoectomy
- Persistent infection: If a tooth has been treated with a root canal, but an infection persists at the end of the root, an apicoectomy may be necessary to remove the infected tissue and prevent further spread of the infection.
- Narrow or curved canals: Some teeth have canals that are difficult to access or shape during a standard root canal, an apicoectomy may be necessary to remove the infected tissue.
- Previously failed root canal: If a previous root canal treatment was unsuccessful, an apicoectomy may be necessary to remove the infected tissue and restore the tooth’s health.
- Cysts or tumors: Sometimes, cysts or tumors develop around the end of the root, which can cause damage to the surrounding bone and require an apicoectomy to remove them.
- Retreatment: Sometimes, a tooth that was previously treated with a root canal may need to be retreated, and an apicoectomy may be necessary to remove the tissue blocking access to the root canal.
What is the process for an Apicoectomy?
Our endodontist employs a high-powered microscope to access the infected tooth by making an incision in the gum tissue. The inflamed or infected tissue, as well as a small portion of the bone, is then removed to access the tooth’s root. The infected tip of the root is then trimmed using specialized ultrasonic instruments. The root canal is sealed by adding a small filling, and sutures are used to aid in the healing of the soft tissue. The bone surrounding the root will take a few months to heal fully.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure used to save a tooth that has been infected or damaged. The procedure involves removing the infected or damaged pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth), cleaning and shaping the canals, and filling them with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. This helps to seal the canals and prevent further infection. Root canals are typically recommended when a tooth is infected or inflamed, and the patient is experiencing pain or sensitivity.
Reasons you may need a Root Canal
- Tooth decay: If tooth decay is left untreated, it can spread to the pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth) and cause inflammation or infection.
- Trauma: A blow to the tooth can cause damage to the pulp, leading to the need for a root canal.
- Cracks or chips: A crack or chip in the tooth can also damage the pulp and lead to the need for a root canal.
- Repeated dental procedures: Having multiple dental procedures done on the same tooth can cause damage to the pulp and lead to the need for a root canal.
- Abscess: An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms at the end of a tooth’s root, it can cause serious damage to the tooth and surrounding tissue, and a root canal treatment is necessary
- Gum disease: Gum disease can cause the supporting bone to deteriorate, which can lead to the tooth becoming loose and requiring a root canal.
What is the process for a Root Canal?
A root canal procedure begins with a consultation with our endodontists, who examines the tooth and takes x-rays to determine if it is necessary. The infected or damaged pulp is removed, and the canals are cleaned, shaped, and filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The opening in the tooth is then sealed with a temporary filling. After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort or sensitivity, Dr. Gray will provide instructions for care and management of pain. A permanent filling or crown is then placed on the tooth to protect it and restore its function. The entire process typically takes 1-2 visits and the recovery time is usually short.
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