Occasionally your general dentist will refer you to an endodontist for root canal therapy or root canal. Rarely the root canal maybe unsuccessful due to infection spreading beyond the confines of where the dentist can access. In this situation an apicoectomy or surgical root canal is performed. A small flap of tissue is raised over the infected root, and the abscess is removed. A small portion of the infected root tip is removed and a seal to prevent further infection is placed over the canal in the root. The entire procedure takes about 1/2 hour and can usually save the tooth from having to be extracted. In some cases we will recommend that the tooth be extracted and replaced with an implant.