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Posted Apr 25 2012 6:08pm
Occasionally, we see cases that have had previous treatment, retreatment, and apicoectomy, and yet are failing again.  The prognosis on these cases is often guarded at best, and it is great that we have dental implants as an option.  If a tooth has a fractured root or is in poor restorative or periodontal condition, I generally recommend a dental implant.

However, there are some select cases, and select patients, where there are some other options.  I have a few such cases where I have elected to retreat a case with previous apicoectomy, and have had success without redoing the apicoectomy.  This is usually necessary where the entire canal system or chamber is contaminated, or there are missed canals that can be addressed.  In fact, a missed canals, or a leaking restorations are the most common reasons for apicoectomy failure.  I will save those cases for a future post, and instead show a couple cases where it was decided to "re-apico" the tooth.

This first patient suffered a traumatic sports injury 30 years ago to her anterior teeth.  The original root canal treatment was done at that time.  The teeth had apicoectomies within a few years.  The crowns on the teeth were recently redone, and a sinus tract was noticed soon after.  As an aside, the appearance of apical pathology on a previously treated tooth only following a new restoration is a common trend.  The most likely explanation is a lack of proper isolation during restorative care and a lack of seal in an old root canal treatment.  

There was heavy amalgam tatooing of the buccal mucosa, but the patient was happy with the esthetics of her new crowns after many years of having crowns she considered ugly.  I discussed treatment options at length, and ultimately referred her to a periodontist for implant consult and to learn about the alternative treatment.  After discussing the option of implants with her periodontist, she came back to me to take a chance on redoing the apicoectomy.  The sinus tract was only associated with #9, but upon access, a granuloma perforating the B plate of #8 was noted, and a decision was made to treat both teeth.

Preop #9

Preop #8

Intraoperative, note the extreme bevels already present.
A submarginal scalloped rectangular flap was selected due to an abundance of attached gingiva.  (pic is flipped)
Post op.  MTA retrofil.
1 month recall, no sinus tract.

The 6 month recall will be coming up soon.  

Case Two is similar and more recent.  This was an extremely challenging case.
This patient presented with two sinus tracts, each tracing to #9 and #10.  The crowns on 8-9 and 10 were all recently redone within the past three months.  The post on #9 is out the end, and crown to root ratio is poor.  I recommended ideally extracting #9.  A case could be made to retreat #10, and that would be my usual preference.  The patient understandably was averse to extracting #9, and so an alternate plan of apicoectomy of both #9 and #10 was suggested.  Tooth #9 was already splinted to #8, so mobility is unlikely.  I likened the desired final result to a cantilever bridge, with a little bit of support.  I cautioned the patient that the prognosis was guarded at best, and the patient again wished to proceed with treatment.  

Preop radiograph.
Dual sinus tract tracing.

Upon access, a complete lack of buccal cortical plate on #9 was noted, and is obviously not ideal.  (pic is flipped)
  A papilla-base preservation flap was selected due to a lack of attached gingiva for a  submarginal.
Hemostasis was a major challenge with this patient.
I was able to resect some of the post, retroprep the GP on the palatal aspect of it, and pack it with MTA.
(flipped pic)  I also apologize, the color balance is off on some of these last few photos.
The MTA retrofil on #10. (flipped pic)
Closure with interrupted sutures. (flipped pic)

Post op radiograph.

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