After a tooth has been root filled it can sometimes develop infection at the very tip of the root. This root tip is known as the apex of the tooth. An apicectomy is where the root tip is surgically removed to rid the tooth of its remaining infection. Unfortunately sometimes the problem isn’t just at the root apex but because the root has split allowing bacterial invasion of the root. In these cases an apicectomy is not appropriate and the tooth should either be extracted or a root amputation should be considered.
Often a fractured root can’t be diagnosed until the surgery has begun and the gum pushed back to examine the root under magnification. This possibility is discussed at the consultation and a ‘Plan B’ put into place so that if the tooth is found to have a split root at surgery Plan B can be put into place.
For some patients Plan B can be to extract the tooth and plan for a dental implant or other tooth replacement, whereas for others it might be decided to amputate the offending root. Each Plan B is decided at consultation and is based on individual requirements.