307 Grafton St #203, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

Root Canal VS Apicoectomy

Root canals are one of the most common treatments to save a compromised tooth. Root canals are performed when there is enough healthy tooth structure to save, but the pulp of the tooth has been compromised. How does the pulp of a tooth become compromised? If your tooth is damaged due to decay, a crack, or fracture, bacteria can invade the inner pulp chamber of the tooth. If that happens but the rest of your tooth is basically in good shape, your dentist will remove your infected pulp, and save the rest of your tooth. However, there is another procedure called an apicoectomy…

A Root Canal

A root canal consists of removing the pulp, which is housed in the center of your tooth. The pulp consists of live tissue cells, blood vessels, and nerves and can be extremely painful if it should become infected. Removal of the pulp includes the following steps:

  1. Your dentist will drill an access hole in your tooth.
  2. The infected pulp is removed with a special tool.
  3. The inside of the tooth is disinfected and then filled with a rubber-like material called gutta percha.
  4. The access hole is filled with dental filling material.
  5. Your dentist may place a crown over the tooth to strengthen and protect it, if necessary.


While root canal treatment takes place on the crown of the tooth (the part above the gum that we chew with) an apicoectomy takes place on the root of the tooth. The infected tissue is accessed via the root tip, also called the apex, of the tooth, and a filling is then placed to seal the end of the root. Why would someone need an apicoectomy? An apicoectomy may be the treatment of choice for the following reasons:

  • The tooth has had already had at least one root canal procedure and retreatment was not successful, or retreatment is not possible.
  • The tooth has a crown or is part of a bridge, and retreatment would require cutting through the crown or bridge which is not a viable option.

Need More Information?

If you need more information requiring root canals and/or apicoectomies, schedule a dental appointment with Modern Dentistry of Shrewsbury in Shrewsbury, MA, today at (508) 842-8838. We also proudly serve patients from Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities.