Recovering from Root Surgery (Apicoectomy)


Infection and disease can affect any part of the tooth. When infected tissues are located below the gumline and root canal treatment has failed, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend an apicoectomy, also known as root-end surgery. A skillfully executed root-end procedure may be able to save your tooth.

Do you need an apicoectomy in Austin, TX? The oral surgeons at Hill Country Oral Surgery invite you to our office for a consultation. We’ll talk more about the procedure, explain your options, and address any questions or concerns you have. Call us at 512-327-7233 to schedule your apicoectomy consultation. There will be some healing after your procedure, but with good care and the right information, most patients enjoy a relatively easy recovery process.

What Is an Apicoectomy?

Root-end surgery is a specialized dental procedure that is performed on the root end of the tooth, under the gumline. It is performed after a failed root canal if infection returns after the procedure and retreatment would not be effective.

What happens during an apicoectomy? The procedure begins with an incision in the gum tissue to expose the root. Diseased and infected tissues are removed, along with a portion of the root tip. The tooth is sealed to prevent further infection and, if needed, a bone graft may be placed to provide additional support. Once the tooth is cleaned and stabilized, the incision is sutured closed.

An apicoectomy allows us to save many teeth that would otherwise be lost. Exposing the root of the tooth provides superior access to infected and diseased teeth, allowing us to clean and rehabilitate them. It also provides access to the bone surrounding the tooth for grafting. This is a last resort procedure, and without treatment, the tooth would likely require imminent removal. Preserving the tooth helps our patients to avoid extractions and the need for a dental implant.

Recovery After an Apicoectomy

An apicoectomy is a surgical procedure, but for most patients, recovery is minor. Additional procedures performed with your root-end surgery, like bone grafting, will typically extend the recovery period and restrictions. We’ll tell you what to expect from your recovery and will provide detailed instructions for post-apicoectomy care during your consultation.

  • Expected Side Effects- Swelling, soreness, minor bleeding, and numbness are common side effects of this procedure. They are normal and expected in most patients.
  • Ice- Place ice packs on the skin of the cheek on the side where the apicoectomy was performed. This is most effective on the day of surgery and helps to reduce swelling.
  • Pain Control- Ibuprofen, an over-the-counter medication, is usually sufficient to manage discomfort after surgery. Take pain medications before you’re in serious pain, as soon as you start to feel discomfort. Some patients may require a prescription pain relief option, especially if bone grafting or other procedures were performed with your root-end surgery.
  • Medications- Many patients will require antibiotics during healing. Fill any prescriptions as soon as possible and follow the prescribing instructions carefully.
  • Hygiene- Avoid brushing the area where the surgery was performed until instructed, and brush carefully after brushing is resumed. Vigorous rinsing can also irritate the fresh incisions. Gentle rinsing with a saltwater solution helps to keep to area clean and free of food and debris. As much as possible, leave the area alone, and give your body time to heal.
  • Smoking- Do not smoke or use nicotine products for several days before the procedure and until you’re fully healed.
  • Diet- We typically recommend a soft food diet for a few days after your procedure.
  • Activity- Restrict activity of the day of surgery. You can return to work and other activities as soon as you’re comfortable, usually a day or two after the procedure.
  • Follow Up Care- We will meet with you a few days after surgery to assess healing. Contact us if your recovery isn’t progressing as expected or if you have any concerns. Just call our office and a member of our staff will assist you.

Recovery after an apicoectomy is easier than expected for most of our patients. Many experience significant relief after their procedure due to a resolution of tooth pain and discomfort. An apicoectomy is a permanent treatment solution that can significantly extend the life of a diseased tooth.

Contact Hill Country Oral Surgery to learn more about apicoectomy recovery in Austin, TX.