Apexification is a procedure used to stimulate root development or closing of the root end (i.e., open apex). An open apex is often found in teeth that are not fully developed (“immature”) or whose roots have been eroded away by a process known as resorption. This complicates root canal therapy by making it difficult to seal the root canals with routine methods.
Endodontists are specially trained to treat these difficult situations through apexification. The goal of this treatment is to form a hard tissue barrier at the end of a root with an open apex. This allows the root canal to be sealed in a traditional manner.
Apexification is often successful, however there are some instances when the root end barrier does not form or the resorption process continues. Situations such as these may require surgical treatment of the root end or necessitate the removal of the tooth.
Signs and Symptoms
This condition is detected with an x-ray typically in young patients (between ages 4 to 18) or related to teeth that have experienced trauma.