Jack Pawlak, DDS and Craig Deagle, DMD

Endodontists located in La Mesa, CA

If you’ve had a failed root canal, you might be a candidate for an apicoectomy. Dr. Jack Pawlak and Dr. Craig Deagle offer this and other dental procedures at their office in La Mesa, California. In cases where endodontic treatments have not been successful, an apicoectomy can restore health and function to your teeth and gums.

Apicoectomy Q & A

Jack Pawlak, DDS and Craig Deagle, DMD

What is an apicoectomy?

With a traditional root canal treatment or retreatment, your dentist cleans out the pulp in the canals of the root or roots of your tooth and removes any inflamed or infected tissue. Sometimes, however, an infection can still develop in the tooth, and this is when an apicoectomy is required.

During an apicoectomy, Dr. Pawlak or Dr. Deagle approaches the root of the tooth through the gums above the tooth. He then removes the root tip, or apex, of your tooth, as well as any infected tissue, and places a filling to seal off the end of the root and prevent further infection.

Unlike a root restriction, a procedure where your dentist removes the entire root of the tooth, an apicoectomy involves only the removal of the root tip.

In most cases, an apicoectomy takes about 30 to 90 minutes to complete. If Dr. Pawlak or Dr. Deagle does the procedure on front teeth which have a single root, it's shorter, while it can last longer if they work on a back molar, where the infection may be in both roots.

Sometimes an apicoectomy is referred to as endodontic microsurgery, as Dr. Pawlak or Dr. Deagle performs it with an operating microscope. It's a minimally invasive procedure that only requires one visit.

When is an apicoectomy needed?

An apicoectomy is only necessary if you’ve had a failed root canal procedure and a root canal retreatment is not possible or safe. A retreatment procedure might not be a good idea if you have a crown or if the affected tooth is part of a bridge, as drilling into the tooth can weaken the dental work.

When a root canal procedure does fail, it’s often due to a problem in the apex of the root. As an alternative to a tooth extraction, an apicoectomy can help to retain your natural tooth.

What can I expect after an apicoectomy?

After an apicoectomy, your dentist can advise you about follow-up care, including what to eat or drink and what you can do to manage discomfort or tenderness. You can apply ice to the treated area for short intervals after the procedure.

It’s normal to experience some bruising and swelling after an apicoectomy, so be careful not to brush your teeth too vigorously. If you have stitches, they are removed up to a week after the procedure, or they may dissolve naturally.

While an apicoectomy is technically considered surgery, most people find it is easier to recover from an apicoectomy than a root canal procedure.

To request a consultation with Dr. Pawlak or Dr. Deagle in La Mesa, California, about an apicoectomy, call or use the easy online scheduling system today.