There was a time when the only response to an infected tooth was extraction leaving a gap to be reckoned with. Orthodontists looked for ways to save the tooth. The root canal procedure provided an effective alternative to extraction. A newer procedure is apicoectomy.
A tooth consists of three hard calcified materials: enamel, dentin, and cementum. In the center is an enclosed soft tissue called the pulp which contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp is a source of nourishment for the tooth.
The soft pulp tissue is vulnerable to infection following a bacterial invasion.
What Is the Difference Between a Root Canal and Apicoectomy?
Both a root canal and an apicoectomy are endodontic surgical procedures intended to save an infected tooth rather than extract it. But the procedures. as well as the results are different.
A root canal procedure is indicated when the pulp becomes infected. The infection can spread to bone and tissues around the root.
A root canal procedure is drilling a small hole into the pulp through the top of the tooth. The infected tissue is removed, the empty space is disinfected, and the pulp chamber is filled. Sometimes, a crown is installed.
According to the American Association of Endodontists, the success rate for root canals is more than 95%. With diligent oral health care, a root canal should last a lifetime.
The 5% failure rate can have different causes. The principal failure is a re-infection of the pulp. The most likely culprit is poor dental hygiene following the surgery. Rarely, the tooth has two roots with the second one becoming infected. Although uncommon, the seal can leak allowing bacteria to re-enter the canal.
Apicoectomy (sometimes known as root end surgery) is usually a last-ditch effort to save a tooth after a failed root canal. This procedure involves drilling into the tooth below the gum line to reach the root tip. The objective is to remove the root tip along with any infected pulp and tissue surrounding the root. The root canal is exposed from the bottom and is cleaned out and sealed with a filling material.
Two 2020 studies found that apicoectomies have a success rate of between 97% and 91% after 1 year. An apicoectomy is considered a failure if symptoms are not relieved. it does not heal properly, or the seal leaks. If both a root canal and an apicoectomy fail the only solution is extraction and replacement with a prosthetic tooth.
An infected root canal is a serious matter involving much pain and discomfort. The infection is caused by bacteria contaminating the pulp inside the root canal. That bacterial infection can be spread throughout your body by your blood system.
If you have tooth pain or other symptoms of tooth infection please see your dentist or an endodontist immediately. Long Island Endodontist is an endodontist in Long Island that has many years of specialized experience with oral surgery including apicoectomy in Long Island.