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Apicectomies

An apicectomy means the removal of the apex (root tip) of the tooth. This may be required due to an abscess (a collection of pus) or cyst caused by infection from the root tip.

Infection of the root tip normally results from progression of dental decay (caries) to involve the root canal which subsequently spreads to involve the root tip and the jaw bone surrounding the root tip.

A root filling may be used to treat this but where a root filling is not possible or is not enough to treat the infection, then an apicectomy may be necessary. It is normally combined with filling at the end of the root to seal the tooth (a retrograde root filling).

It is a minor surgical procedure normally carried out under local anaesthesia.

Often by the time an apicectomy is required the tooth may be significantly compromised and, therefore, the prognosis (or how long the tooth lasts) is doubtful and not predictable.

The common alternative options to carrying out an apicectomy are root filling the tooth or extraction. If an extraction is carried out, then the options to replace the gap include a partial denture (removable appliance), a bridge, or an implant.

A consent form is signed prior to the procedure (see Consent for Apicectomy form) to verify that the patient understands the procedure and the options available.