Apicoectomy is a surgical treatment which consists of the removal of the end of the tooth’s root (the apex) along with the infected tissue in the area. It is performed when the root’s tip gets re-infected after having received a classical root canal treatment. The root’s tip and the surrounding damaged tissue are removed through a small incision in the gums, and then the area is filled and sealed. As in any other medical intervention, apicoectomy has its risks and you should consult your dentist regarding all aspects of the procedure.
Risks of Apicoectomy Root End Surgery
Apicoectomy is not a complicated procedure and it has a high success rate, especially if performed by a qualified experienced dentist or endodontist. There are, however, risks associated with this procedure:
- The procedure could fail
- Nerves can be damaged
- The infection can evolve to sinuses
If the procedure fails and the infected tissue could not be removed, the tooth has to be extracted. After extraction, the risk of the infection spreading is extremely low. If you lose the tooth, it can be replaced with an implant.
Depending on where the damaged tooth is located, specific risks can appear. The roots of teeth located on the back of the lower jaw are very close to major nerves, such as the mandibular nerve. These nerves are at risk of being damaged during the procedure. However, dentists are aware of these risks and, if they see on the X-ray that the nerve is too close, they do not recommend the procedure. One might experience symptoms similar to those of nerve damage due to the swelling and the inflammation close to the nerve. These disappear gradually as the area heals.
If the damaged tooth is located on the upper jaw, the infection can spread to the sinuses. Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics and decongestants to treat the secondary infection.
Warnings and Cautions Regarding Apicoectomy
If you are following a treatment for another medical condition, let your dentist know. The antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication prescribed before or after apicoectomy might interfere with other types of medication. Moreover, given the high anesthesia dosage required by the procedure, patients with high blood pressure might not be qualified to undergo this procedure.
Apicoectomy during Pregnancy and Lactation
In case of pregnancy or lactation, consult with your dentist and your obstetrician to see if you can undergo such a procedure. All dental problems should be solved by the second semester of pregnancy but emergencies might appear.
If an infection occurs, it is usually better for both the mother and the fetus that the treatment is performed. Modern imagistic devices can perform X-rays scans without posing any threat to the fetus, and there are special anesthetics and antibiotics which can be prescribed during pregnancy. If the infection appears while breastfeeding, it should be treated as it may lead to complications for both the mother and the baby. However, during treatment, discontinue with breastfeeding.