Apical periodontitis

By | October 30, 2023

28-year-old female presented with chief complaint of pain in lower left central incisor. Clinical examination showed generalized discoloration. Tooth no.41 carious and tender to percussion. History of trauma 1 year before. Diagnosis is Symptomatic apical periodontitis in tooth no.41.

Apical periodontitis, a common dental condition, is characterized by inflammation and infection in the tissues surrounding the tooth’s apex or root tip. This ailment typically results from untreated dental caries, dental trauma, or a previously performed dental procedure that didn’t fully address the issue. In this article, we delve into the key aspects of apical periodontitis, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and available treatments.


The primary cause of apical periodontitis is the penetration of bacteria into the tooth’s pulp chamber and root canals. This bacterial intrusion often occurs when dental cavities are left untreated, allowing bacteria to progress deep into the tooth. Additionally, dental trauma or injuries can also lead to apical periodontitis.


Patients with apical periodontitis may experience persistent, localized pain around the affected tooth. This pain can range from mild discomfort to severe, throbbing sensations. In some cases, the pain may be exacerbated by biting or chewing. Swelling, tenderness in the surrounding gum tissue, and the presence of a dental abscess are common symptoms of apical periodontitis.


A dentist diagnoses apical periodontitis through a thorough examination. Clinical assessment and a patient’s description of symptoms play a vital role in the diagnosis. Dental X-rays are essential for revealing the extent of the infection and whether it has affected the surrounding bone. Pulp testing can determine the vitality of the tooth’s pulp, aiding in the diagnosis.

Treatment Options:

  1. Root Canal Therapy (RCT): The most common and effective treatment, RCT involves removing the infected pulp, cleaning the root canals, and sealing them to prevent further infection. This preserves the natural tooth.
  2. Extraction: In severe cases where the tooth is unsalvageable, extraction may be necessary to prevent the infection from spreading to neighboring teeth or bones.
  3. Antibiotics and Pain Management: The dentist may prescribe antibiotics to manage the infection and recommend pain relievers to alleviate discomfort while waiting for definitive treatment.

In conclusion, apical periodontitis is a dental condition characterized by infection and inflammation around the tooth’s root. The primary causes are untreated cavities and dental injuries. Common symptoms include localized pain, swelling, and the presence of dental abscesses. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are essential to preserve the affected tooth and prevent the spread of infection.

As with any medical condition, it’s crucial to seek professional advice from a dentist to determine the most suitable treatment for your specific case. Dentistry continually evolves, and new techniques may provide additional options for managing apical periodontitis.