Persistent Extraradicular Infection in Root-filled Asymptomatic Human Tooth: Scanning Electron Microscopic Analysis and Microbial Investigation after Apical Microsurgery

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Abstract

Introduction

Procedural accidents have a negative effect on healing and might contribute to the persistence of infections in inaccessible apical areas, requiring surgical intervention. This report describes a case of persistent apical periodontitis of a lower left first molar associated with the sinus tract and a periapical lesion that required nonsurgical endodontic retreatment and apical surgery for resolution.

Methods

The tooth had received endodontic treatment 3 years ago and had to be retreated using the crown-down technique with chemical auxiliary substance (2% chlorhexidine gel), foramen patency, and enlargement and was filled in a single appointment. The occlusal access cavity was immediately restored with composite resin. After 1 month, it could be observed that the sinus tract persisted and, radiographically, the lesion remained unaltered. Therefore, endodontic microsurgery was indicated. Apical microsurgery was performed under magnification with the use of a dental operating microscope including apicectomy, root end with ultrasound, and sealing with mineral trioxide aggregate. A microbiological sample was collected from the apical lesion. The resected distal root apex was observed by scanning electron microscopy.

Results

The following species were detected: Actinomyces naeslundii and Actinomyces meyeri, Propionibacterium propionicum, Clostridium botullinum, Parvimonas micra, and Bacteroides ureolyticus; scanning electron microscopic analysis revealed bacterial biofilm surrounding the apical foramen and external radicular surface. Gutta-percha overfilling at the apex because of a zip caused during initial endodontic treatment could be observed. A 6-month follow-up showed apparent radiographic periapical healing, which progressed after 24 months.

Conclusion

Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria and extraradicular biofilm seem to participate in the maintenance of persistent periapical pathology, and endodontic retreatment followed by periapical microsurgery proved to be a successful alternative in the resolution of persistent extraradicular infections.

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