An apicectomy is a surgical procedure to remove infection from the tip of the tooth root (apex), usually the result of a failed root filling.
When a root canal fails it is usually due to an unusual and undetectable tooth anatomy, small nerve canals that cannot be cleaned, cyst formation or a cracked tooth. Most of these failed root canals can be saved, with the exception of a severely cracked tooth.
The resulting infection of a failed root canal may or may not cause pain and X-ray evidence is usually required to diagnose the problem.
The procedure takes between 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the location of the tooth and the complexity of the root structure. Procedures on front teeth are generally the shortest; those on lower molars generally take the longest.During the procedure the dentist will cut and lift a small section of the gum away from the affected tooth so the root is easily accessible. The infected tissue is removed along with the last few millimeters of the root tip.