Wolgin Endodontics

What is an Apicoectomy

What is an Apicoectomy“What is an Apicoectomy? Is it surgery? Is it painful? And why do I have to have one?” In our practice, we hear these question almost every day, so we thought we’d take a moment here to clarify what an apicoectomy actually is.

Word Origin:

To better explain what an apicoectomy is, let’s look first at the origin of the word.   As is true with most medical terminology, the key to understanding this procedure lies within the origins of the word itself.

Your teeth are comprised of many parts, the main three being the crown (the part that you can see), the root canals (the long skinny parts that extend from the crown into the jaw) and the root tip, also called the “apex”, which comes from the Latin word meaning “tip” or “point”.

When a patient complains of infection or pain in a tooth that previously had root canal treatment, often it is because there is a problem in the apex area. So, during an “apicoectomy”, we remove (“ectomy”, from the Latin word excise) the apex (“apico”) along with any additional infected tissue that we find.

The Procedure:

Usually, local anesthesia is all we need to make you comfortable during the procedure, which takes about 30-90 minutes to complete. In fact, many patients have reported that the apicoectomy was even less painful than the original root canal treatment!


You may be sore or numb for a few days after the procedure, but usually over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen are all that is needed to control the pain. We will remove the stitches 2-7 days after the procedure, and most soreness and swelling will be gone by 14 days.

If you have any questions about apicoectomies or other procedures, please don’t hesitate to contact our office for more information!

Microsurgery- Better than Ever Before

Microsurgery-Better-than-EverOver the last 10-15 years, the field of endodontics has changed dramatically with considerable improvements in particular in the area of endodontic surgery! In fact, studies have shown that the traditional method of apicoectomy was fifty percent less successful than the current microsurgical success rate.

Why? The most important reason for the increased success rate has to do with the microsurgical materials and instruments themselves.

Here we offer a run-down of benefits of modern microsurgery over traditional apicoectomy methods:

  • Visual Enhancements – The microscope offers a more accurate visualization (both magnification and illumination) of infected canals and irregular anatomies, which leads to better identification and treatment.
  • Smaller Osteotomy – Better visualization and smaller instruments allows us to work within smaller osteotomies. This reduces the amount of bone that needs removing and therefore offers a quicker healing time and reduces the risk of tooth loss down the road.
  • Better Access to Difficult Areas: With microsurgery, we have enhanced access to narrow spaces and other difficult anatomical sites for irrigation.
  • Less Damage: Enhanced visualization allows us to avoid damaging nerves and the maxillary sinus.
  • Better Cleaning of the Apical Canal Space: Traditionally it has been very difficult to fully sterilize the apical canal space because it is very complex in its anatomy.
  • Enhanced Root-End Fillings: Ultrasonic tips are now specially designed to allow for preparation without reducing visibility – this results in a better seal of the filling.

All of these advancements help us save more teeth than we ever could before!

The Science Behind Oral Cancer

The Science-Behind-Oral-CancerCan drinking coffee really help prevent oral cancer? What about different types of foods? Numerous studies have been published that claim certain foods and drinks can prevent oral cancer but when it comes to a disease that will affect 43,250 people this year, it’s important to get the facts.

Oral cancer, also referred to as mouth or head and neck cancer, occurs when there is a problem with the lifecycle of a normal, healthy cell. Cells are supposed to grow and divide into new cells as your body needs them but when this process goes wrong, your body over produces cells. These extra cells can cause a tumor to form. Depending on the type of cells in the tumor, it could be cancerous or benign.

Some studies may say they have proof that a specific food or drink helps to prevent mouth cancer but in reality the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid certain risk factors like smoking and drinking. Drinking in excess accompanied by smoking makes you highly susceptible to the disease and should be avoided.

Most oral cancers start in the tongue in what are called the flat cells and they can spread to other parts of the body if they aren’t caught early (in doctor lingo, cancer of these flat cells is called squamous cell carcinoma). Interestingly, when these oral cancer cells spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs, they are still considered oral cancer cells rather than lung cancer cells. Where these abnormal cancer cells begin is what they will always be referred to as, regardless of where they spread.

Doctors still don’t know why one person gets oral cancer while another person does not, but it is important to note that oral cancer is NOT contagious. Avoiding risk factors and eating healthy is key to preventing oral cancer. Make sure to visit us regularly so we can check for signs of oral cancer!