Though dental science has come a very long way over the centuries, tooth decay is still a fact of human life. Indeed, we here at dental the practice of Elliott Ostro DMD spend a lot of our time cleaning up after the acid-producing bacteria that cause cavities. Depending on the severity and location of the damage, Dr. Ostro employs different methods of treatment. For a small cavity that’s only penetrated into the enamel or dentin (the outer two layers of each of our teeth), a little bit of drilling and filling is all that’s required. If the bacteria have managed to dig deeper into the affected tooth — down into what’s called the pulp — a root canal has to be performed. If this fails to do the trick, the last resort before extracting the tooth altogether is called an “apicoectomy.”
As you may know, a root canal is so-called because the defining component of the procedure is when Dr. Ostro uses tiny files to clean infected tissues out of the affected tooth’s root(s). While the simplified anatomical diagrams of teeth you’ve probably seen might suggest otherwise, roots can actually be hard to clean out thoroughly thanks to the tiny twists, turns and bifurcations inside them. This means that, from time to time, teeth can become re-infected after root canals. Most likely, this re-infection takes hold at the tips of roots, which dentist call tooth “apexes.” This is where the apicoectomy procedure comes to the rescue. Rather than tackling the problem from above, as in the case of a root canal, when we perform an apicoectomy here at the practice of Elliott Ostro DMD, we access the sick tooth root surgically via the gums. Once the root is in sight, we then remove inflamed tissues, cut off the root tip and then cap it. Finally, once everything’s looking good, stitches will be used to close the access hole we’ve made in your gums.
Yes, we here at the practice of Elliott Ostro DMD understand that this may sound kind of intense. Thanks to anesthesia, however, you aren’t going to feel any pain whatsoever during the operation. Plus, we think you’ll agree that any pain you feel during recovery is going to pale in comparison to a tooth that’s left to rot. Think you might have a cavity? Are you simply overdue for your six-month check up? Set up a comprehensive dental exam with Dr. Ostro today!