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Sometimes an infection can occur at the root tips of teeth. This is usually treated with a high quality Root Canal Treatment (RCT). Occasionally the infection can recur. This can occur un-noticed, but sometimes people are aware of a 'gum boil' or a bad taste in their mouth. People often have had repeated courses of anti-biotics. If left untreated this can lead to a persistent infection that leads to an abcess or cyst formation. The products of these infections can lead to bone breakdown, and eventually the tooth becomes loose.

This infection at the root tip can be removed surgically by a procedure called an apicectomy. This involves a small incision to the gum, at the level of the root tip. The over-lying bone is removed to expose the root tip. Any infected cystic material is removed, and the tip of the tooth is cut off. The root is then filled with a small filling and the gum is sewn in place.

The risks of this procedure are:

- Occasionally a numb feeling is present for a few months over the surgical site.

- Scar tissue around the incision margins can lead to some gum shrinkage.

- Even if the infection is successfully removed it can return months or even years later.