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Apicoectomy Side Effects

Updated November 21, 2016

To some, an apicoectomy may sound like a frightening dental procedure. Most patients will have already endured a root canal and now must decide on tooth extraction or the apicoectomy. The good news is that severe side effects and complications are rare, but you should consult your dentist on whether the procedure would be right for you.

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What is an apicoectomy?

During an apicoectomy, the dentist will remove the root tip and any infected tissue. Your dentist will need to cut and move the gum away from the tooth in order to gain access to the root. It is also sometimes called endodontic microsurgery or root-end resection. According to Dentalfind.com, an apicoectomy is performed after a tooth has had a least one root canal treatment, sometimes even two. The procedure usually lasts about 30 to 90 minutes depending on the location of the tooth, according to Dentalfind. It is performed under local anaesthesia.

Reasons for an apicoectomy

An apicoectomy is usually the next step after a root canal has failed and an infection is still present or healing is simply not progressing. If the procedure does not work, the tooth will need to be extracted. According to GLC Endodontics, some patients will experience symptoms such as pain, swelling of the gums or tenderness after a root canal. Other patients do not exhibit symptoms and the infection is found through an ultrasound exam. According to Dentalfind.com, the long-term success rate or prognosis for a tooth is significantly reduced when an apicoectomy is needed.

Mild side effects

After an apicoectomy, you will likely experience bruising and swelling around the surgery area. Dentalfind.com recommends icing the area for about 10 to 12 hours. There may be some pain or tenderness which may be helped with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Stitches are usually removed about two to seven days. You may also experience minor bleeding.

Severe side effects

The procedure, although considered safe when performed by a qualified endodontist, does come with risks. You could experience nerve damage or additional infection. If you develop a fever, excessive bleeding or cannot control pain, call your dentist.


If you have high blood pressure, or any other serious medical conditions, you should tell your dentist before the procedure. An apicoectomy requires a larger dose of local anaesthesia, and some patients may have an adverse reaction.

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About the Author

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor is a visual journalist, page designer and horse-lover in central Indiana. She designs pages for an area newspaper including feature pages and page A1. She has had a passion for journalism her entire life and enjoys both the design and writing aspects of the industry. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University in visual journalism.

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