Our Endodontic Services


What Is Apexification?

Apexification is an endodontic treatment that’s administered alongside root canal therapy to save a tooth that’s been damaged by a traumatic dental injury. It’s usually only required for children who have damaged one of their permanent teeth before it has fully formed. 

In this process, unhealthy pulp is removed from the tip of the tooth, then special medication is used to treat it and encourage hard tissue to form near the root tip. This closes the tooth and allows it to be treated with a traditional root canal.

Why Is Apexification Necessary?

To understand why apexification is necessary, it’s important to know a bit about the anatomy of a tooth. A normal tooth has a cone-shaped root. This root widens at the crown, then narrows to a closed root “tip.”
However, permanent adult teeth that are not developed don’t always have a closed root tip. This is called an “open apex.” These teeth need to continue to grow and develop to gain strength. Normally, this isn’t an issue. As the mouth grows and develops, the tip of the tooth will close.

However, if an immature permanent tooth is damaged by a traumatic dental injury, the open apex may never close. This will cause problems during root canal therapy. A closed root canal is necessary so that the tooth can be cleaned, filled, and restored properly.

This is why apexification must be integrated into the treatment process. By creating a calcified barrier and closing the open apex, apexification “closes” the tooth root and allows the tooth to be treated with a root canal.

The Apexification Treatment Process: What To Expect

  • Initial Treatment – Initially, the treatment process is similar to a root canal. The tooth is cleaned and numbed, then opened up. Special tools are used to clean out damaged pulp and tooth material. Then, the area will be flushed and irrigated to sanitize the tooth. Finally, calcium hydroxide or another special material will be packed into the end of the tooth, and the tooth will be filled and sealed.
  • Follow Ups – Your dentist at ONE ENDO may need to see you for a few checkups over the next 6 months as the tooth heals and calcifies to ensure the open apex is calcifying and closing properly.
  • Root Canal Treatment – Once the apexification process is complete, you’ll come back to ONE ENDO to get a root canal. This completes the procedure, and ensures your tooth will stay intact for years to come.

What kind of aftercare is required?

Similarly to root canal therapy, no special treatment is required to take care of the tooth after the apexification procedure. To avoid biting your cheeks and lips, you may want to avoid eating or chewing for a few hours until your numbing wears off. 

Other than that, just make sure to brush and floss normally, and make sure to come back to ONE ENDO as scheduled for follow-ups to make sure that the apexification process is proceeding normally.

Have questions about Apexification? Find answers here.

Basically, the difference between a pulpotomy and apexification has to do with the level of damage done to an immature adult tooth. Pulpotomies are used for teeth that are not fully developed and have inflamed pulp, but are still “vital,” and can still be saved.

Alongside a pulpotomy, a treatment called “apexogenesis” is typically used. This treatment is somewhat similar to apexification, but it’s intended to help the root of the tooth heal and continue to form properly. With a pulpotomy and apexogenesis, it’s often possible to save the tooth, and ensure that it grows properly and continues to develop.

In contrast, apexification is usually used alongside a root canal to treat a tooth that’s non-vital (dead), but still does not have fully formed roots. In apexification, a special procedure is used to close up the root of the tooth. Special materials are placed in the end of the tooth root to close and seal the “apex” of the root and protect the tooth from further damage.

Apexification is usually only needed alongside a root canal for seriously-damaged teeth that are non-vital, meaning that the pulp has been completely destroyed and cannot be saved. In addition, it’s typically only necessary for immature teeth that are not fully developed and do not have a “closed” root. 

For example, if your child is 13 years old, and they develop a serious tooth decay and tooth infection in a rear molar that destroys the tooth pulp, they may need treatment with a root canal and apexification. This is because the roots of the teeth often are not fully formed until about three years after the teeth have erupted.

First, the team at ONE ENDO would clean the interior of the tooth to remove their damaged pulp. Then, if they find that the root of their tooth has not fully formed, our team will also recommend apexification. In this process, they will apply sealing materials such as calcium hydroxide or mineral trioxide aggregate to the apex of your child’s tooth root. 

Over time, these substances form a hardened layer over the apex of the root, which is known as a “calcific” barrier. This preserves the root of their tooth, and helps keep it strong and intact after root canal therapy.

If your child has serious tooth decay or a tooth infection in one of their adult teeth, apexification may be necessary alongside root canal therapy from ONE ENDO to restore their tooth. Common signs of decay and infections include tooth sensitivity, tooth and/or gum discoloration, visible holes or pits in the tooth, and toothaches. 

The only way to know for sure whether or not apexification is necessary for your child is to schedule an appointment with the team at ONE ENDO. So don’t wait. Schedule an appointment at one of our offices in Westchester, Norwalk, or Greenwich, today, and make sure your child gets the treatment they need to save their tooth.

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