How Long Does Apical Dental Surgery Take?

How Long Does Apical Dental Surgery Take?

Team Root Canal

Apical surgery is a minimally invasive endodontic surgery that typically takes less than 90 minutes to complete. Also called an apicoectomy, or endodontic microsurgery, apical dental surgery is a procedure that removes the apex (tip) of the tooth root. The surgery does not require hospitalization or general anesthesia. It is performed by an experienced endodontist using local anesthesia.

The Apical Surgery Procedure

Surgery to remove the end of the tooth root begins with a small incision in the gum so that the endodontist can access the apex of the root. Using a high-powered microscope and specialized endodontic surgical tools, the endodontist will remove the root tip, along with any infected tissue. The area is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before the endodontist places a special filling at the end of the root to prevent future infection. Finally, the incision in the gum is sutured and the procedure is complete. 

Why is an Apicoectomy Necessary?

If you’ve been told you need an apicoectomy, it is often after a non-surgical root canal has not sufficiently eradicated the infection outside the tooth. This is normally the case if there are obstructions to adequate bacteria removal from unique anatomy or previous procedural blockages. Surgery is also indicated if there is a population of bacteria on the outside of the root.  Failing to treat an infection in the tooth’s root can have terrible consequences including:

  • Spread of the infection through the bone
  • Increasing pain or swelling
  • Tooth loss

On the other hand, apical surgery offers many benefits including:

  • Saving a natural tooth
  • Preventing further bone loss
  • Eradicating infection 
  • Alleviating pain
  • Reducing risks to overall health
  • Avoiding tooth removal and implant placement if possible

Recovery from Apical Surgery: What to Expect

Following an apical surgery, it is normal to experience some discomfort, minor bleeding, or swelling. Your endodontist will recommend over-the-counter pain medication to reduce the pain. Ice packs can also help to reduce swelling. Most patients are comfortable enough to return to work the day after apical surgery. 

 You will be provided with post-surgical instructions for caring for the site of the incision. You may also receive a prescription for a short course of antibiotic medications to prevent infection if necessary. It is very important to follow all instructions provided by your endodontist. While you’re healing it is crucial to brush carefully and avoid the site of the incision. You must also refrain from smoking, smokeless tobacco, or vaping. You will likely be most comfortable with a soft food diet for the first 48 hours following your surgery. 

You’ll return to the endodontist approximately 5-7 days after apical surgery so that they can remove sutures and evaluate the healing process. Within a few weeks, the soft tissue healing will be complete. Complete healing of the tissues and bone near the tooth root takes several months to years depending on the size of the lesion.

Schedule Endodontic microsurgery in Pleasant Hill, CA

At Tittle Endodontics, our father and daughter team of experienced, skillful, and compassionate endodontists Dr. Kenneth Tittle and Dr. Mia Tittle perform apical surgery in our state-of-the-art endodontic practice in Pleasant Hill, CA.  To book your appointment, call 925-676-3388, or send us a message.