Apicectomy

Last Updated: Thursday, 21 January 2021

Apicectomy

 

What is it?

This is where a painful infection (an abscess) has developed in the surrounding bone at the end of the root of a tooth. The dentist cleans the infected area to save the tooth, and is usually carried out on a tooth which has already been root-filled.

What will my dentist do?

  • Numb the mouth around the infected tooth with local anaesthetic, so the procedure is painless.
  • Make a small cut in the gum, far away from the tooth so that there won't be a visible scar afterwards.
  • Uncover the infected area by moving a small flap of gum to one side.
  • Clean out the infection.
  • To stop any more infection, a small filling is placed at the end of the root canal.
  • Stitch the gum back in place.

You should not feel any pain during an apicectomy but you may feel some pressure and hear instruments being used.

After the treatment you will need to keep the area clean by:

  • Rinsing with warm salty water several times a day for the first day, especially after meals. Use half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water.
  • Brushing the teeth normally but being very careful not to disturb the cut.
  • Continue rinsing on the next day and begin to gently brush the teeth next to the cut.

For two or three days afterwards, there may be some mild discomfort, bruising and swelling which an ice-pack can help with. Healing usually takes about a week.

What are the benefits?

An apicectomy stops pain and will save a tooth which would otherwise have to be taken out.