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What is an Apicoectomy (ā"pi-kō-ek'tu-mē)?

I asked the same question when my endodontist told me I was going to need this surgery done for a failing root canal.

I have terrible teeth and is has nothing to do with my dental hygiene. As my wife can attest I go above and beyond what the average person will do to keep their teeth clean. I've concluded that I just have bad DNA in this particular area.

I have a love/hate relationship with dentistry. I love that dentist are able to remove pain and fix failing teeth, I hate the fact that I have spent so much time having various procedures performed on me. My dentists always seem surprised by my understanding of dental procedures and technology, the sad truth is that this knowledge stems from years of experience.

The specific tooth needing surgery has caused me endless frustration. 8 years ago I had to get a root canal done and I didn't have dental insurance. I think it ended up costing me $2500, so as a poor college student I had to take a loan out to pay for it.

2 years later the crown broke. I lived in a new area that was fairly far from the previous dentist and so I opted to get a new crown put on by someone else. Thankfully this time I had insurance. The sad irony was that even though I was insured I was still paying off the loan for the previous crown even though it was no longer in my mouth.

What I learned from my experience from working with the second dentist is that you should always go to a dentist that is referred by someone you trust. I just found this guy in my insurance network and figure he'd be good and unfortunately he wasn't.

The crown that was placed on my tooth looks as if it could have been done by my daughter Olivia. To help you better understand what I mean by this imagine Olivia playing with her princess DUPLO blocks and pounding pieces on in places that just don't fit, but somehow they always do. Uh, scary.

So now the dentist informs me that the root canal is failing and simply re-doing the procedure will prove ineffective. Instead I get to experience apicoectomy fun! YIPEE! (Sense the sarcasm people)

Basically this procedure is a reverse root canal. Instead of going in from the root, the dentist attacks the infected area from the side. The picture in this blog clearly illustrates the procedure. The dentist cuts open the gums, removes and cleans the infected area, cuts off the back end of the root canal and corks it off, and then sews up the incision. 

I am so excited, at last I get to experience something new and unexpected in the dental chair! (Hmmmm, that sarcasm feels good)

The good news is that this procedure is actually $65 less than having the root canal re-done (Go figure!). I am optimistic that this is finally going to solve this problem. If it doesn't it looks as if I'll have to join my dad as a member of the implant club as the only other option is extraction and while not necessary I rather like having a tooth there.


Jennerator said...

Oh Matt, I feel as if you have just shown me my future. And I don't like it.

I suppose when you have as many root canals as we do, one or two are bound to go bad.

Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

Yeah, you and big T both. I'm sensing a lot of similarities here and it's freakin' me out. You are both the same age too I think (not that I freely admit that). He's got terrible teeth and he takes WAY better care of them then I do. He's had crazy dental surgeries as well - but I think you win with this one. Good luck!!!

Spymommy said...

Ouch. Glad I got the good tooth DNA. Sorry Mattie.

Mona said...

I'm sorry, but your enthusiasm (or sarcasm) does not sound the least bit convincing to me.

Tobi said...

Matt I really feel bad for you. I would rather go watch a football game (shudder) than willingly go to the dentist. Good luck with your surgery. I hope it's quick and as painless as possible.

Tobi said...

I don't know if this is a bad thing to tell you or not. But here goes. There is LEGO store in Colorado.

LEGO® Outlet
Colorado Mills
Denver, CO, USA
14500 West Colfax Avenue
Lakewood, CO 80401
Phone: (303) 590-1450

You can be sure Joel and I will be going there when we are in Colorado in March.

acte gratuit said...

Teeth. Who needs 'em?!

Matt said...


Your husband would be appalled by that comment!

Bartimaeus said...

You forgot to mention the part where they will have to drill through the alveolar bone to get to the apex of the tooth in question. I'll do it for you for free!!! But it will be my first one. Are you going to an endodontist or a general dentist.

Good luck and bring your ipod!

Matt said...


I'm going to a endodontist, and now thanks to your post I'm going to have nightmares for a week.

Kirsten said...

Yikes! I don't love/hate the dentist, I just plain hate the dentist. Nothing personal, friend of Matt who is in dental school, it's juts that I have to go so often and it's NEVER a pleasant experience. So sorry you have to have that procedure done, Matt.