Skip to main content

Procedure spotlight: Apicoectomy (root canal surgery)

Posted on August 3, 2023 in Healthy You

tooth in dental chair

In most cases, non-surgical root canal treatment can address the problems caused by an infected tooth. But sometimes, infections keep coming back. That's where an apicoectomy comes into play. An apicoectomy is a minor surgical procedure that your dentist may recommend if tooth infections return after non-surgical root canal treatment. Here, we will explore apicoectomy basics and what to expect during the procedure.

What is an apicoectomy?

An apicoectomy, which your dentist may also call root end surgery, involves removing the infected tooth tissue and the tip of the tooth's root, known as the apex. By removing the infected parts of the tooth and the root tip, it will prevent further infections from forming and preserve your tooth. The procedure is usually performed by an endodontist, an oral health provider who specializes in root canal treatments.

What happens during an apicoectomy procedure?

Before the apicoectomy begins, you will receive local anesthesia at and around the infected tooth to ensure you’re safe and comfortable during the surgery. Your endodontist will make a small cut in the gum tissue near the infected tooth and carefully remove the infected tissue and the apex. After removing the infected portion, the endodontist will seal the root canal with a small filling and then stitch up the gum area. The tooth area will heal over the course of a few months.

Recovering from apicoectomy

After your procedure, your endodontist will provide you with details on how to safely recover from your apicoectomy. It’s important to follow these instructions exactly, so don’t hesitate to ask questions if anything is unclear.

Following the guidance of your provider is most important, but some general tips for caring for yourself after surgery include taking any pain relievers as directed, practicing good oral hygiene such as brushing twice daily and flossing daily (taking care to avoid the sensitive surgical site), and avoiding hard or sticky foods that could irritate or damage the surgical site.

Does my dental insurance cover an apicoectomy?

Before undergoing any dental procedure, it’s important to understand the cost. Whether an apicoectomy is a covered service under your Delta Dental of Iowa insurance depends on your plan. Before your surgery, give us a call at the number on the back of your Delta Dental of Iowa ID card. We’re happy to help you understand your specific plan coverage so you can get the care you need without any surprises.


American Association of Endodontists