Treatment for a Failed Root Canal
Root canals are a common dental procedure that aims to remove all of the infected portions of a tooth’s pulp. This procedure is necessary when an infection has developed inside the canal that runs in the middle of the tooth root. Root canal therapy can be extremely beneficial when the problem is identified early. In some cases, the infection may persist after therapy, and an additional surgical procedure is necessary.
Dr. Balaci, Dr. Forbes, or Dr. Murphy can perform an apicoectomy in Lebanon, PA, to manage failed root canal treatment. Apicoectomies help ensure the entire infection is removed, saving you from pain and preventing further damage from occurring. If you have had a recent root canal treatment but the infection persists, or if you have been referred for an apicoectomy, contact Balaci Oral and Facial Surgery in Lebanon for an appointment with an oral surgeon.
How an Apicoectomy Works
An apicoectomy is an oral surgical treatment performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon that can be performed on any tooth at any location in the mouth. The infection can be located inside the front teeth, which have one root, or in the premolars and molars at the back of the mouth, which have two or three roots.
Infections inside the tooth root cannot be easily seen from the outside because they occur deep within the canal of the root. This canal acts as a roadway for nerves and blood vessels between the apex of the root (the tip) and the inside of the crown, also known as the pulp chamber.
Root canal therapy is often a very effective way to treat infected dental pulp. However, if the tooth develops another infection after treatment or the problem persists, an apicoectomy is usually recommended. This treatment, also known as endodontic microsurgery, ensures that the tooth root does not develop additional infections or complications.
Signs and Symptoms of Needing an Apicoectomy
If an infection inside the tooth root is not treated properly, the result may be the complete loss of the tooth. By treating the damaged tooth with an apicoectomy procedure, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can mitigate the problem and help the patient avoid tooth extraction. Every patient’s teeth are unique to their mouths, and the structure and shape of some teeth increase their risk for infection. If your teeth exhibit any of the following characteristics, an apicoectomy may be recommended:
- Small Root Branches. An important part of the tooth root structure are the small branches that extend out from the root and ensure that your teeth stay solidly anchored within your jaw. Patients who have branches that are smaller than average are at a greater risk for persistent infection because the branches are more difficult to clean and seal during a root canal procedure.
- Curved or Narrow Root Canals. Patients whose teeth have narrow or curved root canals run a higher risk of persistent infection following root canal therapy and may need an apicoectomy to solve the problem. This narrow or curved shape makes it difficult for a general dentist to clean the infected area properly and prevent further infection.
- Root Canal Blockage. If a patient has already undergone root canal therapy once and develops a second infection at a later date, the dentist may experience difficulty completing a second procedure. On occasion, debris from the first procedure blocks the root canal, and proper cleaning becomes extremely difficult. If this is the case, an apicoectomy may be necessary to take care of the problem.
The Apicoectomy Procedure
If you are in need of an apicoectomy, we will perform a thorough oral examination during your initial consultation and take 3D scans of your mouth. We will also discuss your options for anesthesia and sedation to ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure.
During an apicoectomy, a microscope can be used to get the closest and clearest look at the root canal and ensure proper cleaning and sealing of the canal. This treatment can be performed in 30–90 minutes depending on the tooth being treated (front or back) and the severity of the problem.
The oral surgeons and staff at Balaci Oral and Facial Surgery in Lebanon, PA, aim to improve your oral health and confidence while preventing future dental issues from occurring. Contact our office today for a consultation to find out if an apicoectomy is right for you.
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