Root Canal vs Apicoectomy Procedure Q&A
Root canals and apicoectomy are dental procedures that can save the natural tooth when it has an infection. If you have been informed of a tooth infection, or have previously had a failed root canal, contact Ideal Endodontics today! We have convenient locations near you. For more information, please contact us or book an appointment online.
Table of Contents:
What is the difference between a root canal and an apicoectomy procedure?
Why would a patient need an apicoectomy?
What are the 3 stages of root canal treatment?
Do I need an apicoectomy if my root canal does not work?
A root canal is an endodontic surgery that has the ability to save a natural tooth, while an apicoectomy can provide the same ability, root canals are a much more common procedure to have completed. The main reason why an apicoectomy may be recommended is if the root canal that was originally completed, fails.
Root canals are completed to restore damaged teeth, they are often recommended as the tooth reaches a certain level of damage to the pulp of the tooth, which is an infection that starts to invade the tooth. Tooth decay in the mouth as well as any accidents are the main cause of pulp infection, if the structure of the tooth is still intact, then more often than not, a root canal will be performed.
An apicoectomy is often completed due to an infection on the tooth’s root. Before the procedure can be completed, there needs to be a complete medical history recorded of the patient, as well as a physical exam. While it is a similar procedure, the way it is completed is different, including different access points, and materials used. However, both procedures aim to do the same, which is to save the tooth.
Often your endodontist will recommend the patient get an apicoectomy procedure done if the original root canal that was completed has failed, and to save the tooth, another surgery will need to be completed. This treatment is the final treatment to save a tooth with an infection.
During a root canal treatment, there are three stages are involved from the beginning to the end of a root canal treatment. Root canals are one of the most detailed tooth treatments and some can be quite a long process; however, each step of the treatment that is performed is to ensure that the risk of the tooth becoming reinfected is less so the patient can have the best results.
Step 1: Extirpation – this is completed with a rubber dam and clamps which are placed on the infected tooth. Small files are then used to perform an initial clean of the root canal to remove the following:
• The nerve
• Control the infection
• Medicate the tooth
The entire step can take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes total to complete, and each patient’s time frame will depend on the complexity of the tooth.
Step 2: Instrumentation – Again the rubber dam and clamp are placed, and a detailed clean will be performed to ensure the bacteria is in a controlled state and the tooth is not feeling any pain. This step can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to complete based on the complexity of the teeth.
Step 3: Obturation – A rubber dam and clamp are placed before the obturation is completed. During this step is when the tooth can no longer feel any pain. The root canal is then filled with special gutta-percha material which seals it up and completes the root canal procedure. This step can take an average of 30 to 60 minutes to complete, again this will depend on the patient’s complexity of their infected tooth.
While it is quite rare for a root canal treatment to not work, on the off chance it doesn’t, then an apicoectomy will be recommended as your last chance to save the infected tooth. This surgery is also known as a “root end surgery” if this treatment does not stop the infection, the tooth may need to be removed and another dental procedure may be recommended.
If you are in need of a tooth-saving procedure for an infected tooth, speak to your dentist or an endodontist today. Our clinic Ideal Endodontics completes both root canals and apicoectomy. Our specialists will provide you with comprehensive care. Contact us today! We have convenient locations to serve you. For more information, please contact us or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Washington DC, Woodbridge VA, Arlington VA, Lorton VA, Manassas VA, Springfield VA, Alexandria VA, and Silver Spring MD.