What Is An Apicoectomy?

The term apicoectomy comes from two base words; the first “apico” or apex meaning the tip, and second “ectomy” which means to remove something. In this case, the apex refers to the tip of the root of a tooth, so when putting the two words together; “apicoectomy” means the removal of the tip of the root of a tooth.

When performing an apicoectomy the root tip is removed at an angle, or beveled off so the complete diameter of the root may be visualized. Then a small portion of the root canal filling is removed from the beveled root and a filling called a “retrograde filling” is then placed to seal off the end of the root.

What Are Good Reasons To Do An Apicoectomy?

There are a few good reasons to do an apicoectomy. Sometimes there are tiny extra canals at the end of a tooth that a root canal are unable to fill, sometimes the root canal is unable to completely seal off the end of the root, sometimes there is infected tissue left at the root tip that needs to cleaned out of the area, and sometimes there is a crack or fracture in the root that can only be sealed off by an apicoectomy.

What Are Some Reasons Not To Do An Apicoectomy?

The times when an apicoectomy may not work is when there is crack or fracture that is too close to the gum line, or one that goes all the way through the root. Also, if the root is already too short to support the tooth, the apicoectomy will only make the root shorter. Sometimes the roots can be very close to nerves or other vital structures that make it very difficult to perform an apicoectomy without risking damaging those structures.

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