What is an apicectomy?

If you have a painful infection (an abscess) at the end of a tooth root, your dentist may recommend an 'apicectomy' in order to clean the infected area to save the tooth. It will also usually be carried out on a tooth which has already been root-filled.

What will this treatment involve?

  • Your dentist will usually perform this treatment under a local anaesthetic to numb the area around the infected tooth, so that the procedure is painless
  • Your dentist will then make a small cut a small flap of gum to one side to uncover the infected area, so that the infection can be cleaned out
  • A small filling will be applied to the end of the root canal to prevent further infection and then the gum will be stitched back in place
  • After the treatment your will need to keep the area clean. For the first day, you should use half a teaspoon of salt in a glass with warm water to rinse your mouth. It is recommended that you do this several times a day, especially after meals

What are the benefits of an apicectomy?

Although there may be some initial discomfort afterwards caused by swelling and bruising, it usually only takes about a week for an apicectomy to heal. It will also stop the pain caused by the infected area and save a tooth, which would otherwise have to be taken out.