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In some cases, root canal therapy may fail to resolve a dental infection. Apicoectomy is a conservative retreatment that removes the tip of the root canal along with the infected tissue.

How an apicoectomy can help if root canal treatment didn't 

  • Conservative Treatment—unlike surgeries which completely remove one or more roots, apicoectomy only removes a portion of the root tip. Preserving the most dental tissue possible is always preferable.
  • More Accurate Treatment—root canals are notoriously complex systems. During the initial treatment, it can be difficult to remove infected tissue from tiny branches of the root tip (apex). Directly accessing the area can be more effective.
  • Maintains Restorations—repeating root canal treatment can weaken a dental filling or dental crown. Apicoectomy leaves restorations completely undisturbed.
Person smiling

Is treatment expensive?

Apicoectomy typically costs between $900-$1,300 without insurance and $100-$500 out-of-pocket under a typical dental plan. Your dentist might determine that the only alternative is extraction, which can cost $75 to $200. After extraction, you will need to replace the missing tooth. A single dental implant ranges from $1,600-$2,200, not including the dental crown. Traditional bridges cost between $500-$1,200 per artificial tooth, but this solution will require alteration of healthy teeth and cannot stop the bone atrophy that follows tooth loss.

But is it really effective?

As a relaiable alternative to recurring treatment modern apicoectomy has a 94% success rate according to the Journal of Endodontics.

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What to expect during the procedure

  • Your endodontist will first numb the treatment area. You might also receive medication to help you relax.
  • The doctor will then make a small incision in the gums near the tooth.
  • Infected tissue will be removed, including the very end of the root.
  • The doctor will place a small dental filling at the end of the root. This seals the canal and prevents reinfection.
  • To complete the procedure, the dentist will use a small number of sutures to close the gum tissue.
John F. Rink DDS, AAACD

Some patients may need a second root canal treatment instead. In other cases, extracting the tooth is the best option. Other types of endodontic surgery, such as root amputation, could also be recommended.

If root canal therapy has failed to restore your oral health, apicoectomy might be a viable alternative to extraction. Contact a doctor today to learn more about the best way to protect your smile.

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