In most cases, root canal therapy (commonly known as a “root canal”) is all that is necessary to save a tooth with an injured pulp from an extraction. However, sometimes a root canal procedure is not sufficient to heal the tooth, at which point your general or family dentist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate hidden canals or fractures that do not appear on X-rays but still create pain in the tooth and may be a source of continued infection. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with an apicoectomy. The most common surgery used to save these damaged teeth is called an apicoectomy or root-end resection with retrofill.

What is an Apicoectomy and Retrofill?

An incision is first made in the soft gum tissue to expose the bone and the surrounding inflamed tissue. Then the damaged tissue, along with the end of the root tip, is removed. To seal the end of the root to prevent reinfection of the root, a root-end filling is placed and the gum is sutured. Over the next several months, the bone will naturally heal around the root, restoring full function to your tooth and mouth.

Following the procedure, you may experience some discomfort or slight swelling as the incision heals. This is considered normal for any surgical procedure, and should start to subside in four to six days. To alleviate any discomfort, we will recommend and prescribe appropriate pain medication. For more information, please contact Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today.