Root Canal Infection: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment

Root Canal Infection: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment

Root canals are regular dental procedures. In a recent study by the American Association of

Endodontists, about fifteen million root canals are done in the US alone every year.

Do you need to be worried about root canals infection? Are there possibilities of complications after a root canal?

What are Root Canal Infections?

Teeth are not entirely solid – they consist of layers. The enamel is the hard and strong outer surface of the tooth. The inner part of the tooth is known as dentin, and it is a sponge-like and porous tissue. The center of the tooth is comprised of soft tissues known as pulp.

The pulp is made up of blood vessels and nerves, which give the tooth the capacity to grow. It is filled with cells referred to as odontoblasts which keep the teeth healthy.

A root canal takes care of the infected tooth’s pulp or the pulp destroyed by tooth decay or some other form of injury. Root canals are very safe and can save your teeth.

Although root canals infections are not common at all, there are still few chances of your tooth being infected after a root canal has been done.

Symptoms of Root Canal Infections

It is normal for you to instantly feel pains in specific areas of your teeth after a root canal procedure. You may also go through tenderness and discomfort for some days after the root canal procedure. You’ll also have little pain for up to a week after the process.

If you still feel severe pain after a week of the procedure, ensure you notify your dentist. You need to see the dentist, especially if your pain is worse than or as uncomfortable as before the root canal was done.

Sometimes, you may have a delayed infection on the tooth, absolutely pain-free for some weeks or months. There is a likelihood that the treated tooth may not heal completely, and the tooth can become diseased or painful for months or years after the procedure.

Signs that Warrant a Return Trip to the Dentist

Below are the usual symptoms of root canal infections, which mean you must visit your dentist one more time.

  • A bad mouth taste or a bad breath from the infected tissue
  • Discomfort or tenderness in the swollen tissue, mainly when you apply pressure.
  • Swollen, warm, red tissue near that tooth, particularly the gums around or under the tooth, the swelling may affect your neck and face too.
  • A yellowish, greenish, or discolored pus discharge can be seen.
  • Discomfort and pain between mild tenderness and unbearable pain, particularly when you put pressure on the tooth (when pressing on your tooth or eating) or when you expose your tooth to severe temperatures.

Can the Infection Spread to Other Parts of the Teeth, Including the Gum?

The root canal infection, like other infections, can spread around the mouth to other teeth and tissues, and it can also affect the face and the cheeks.

Unless treated, the infection will not go away. And if you delay in treating it, it will contaminate every part of your teeth. The spread of the infection is determined by how quickly you treat it after noticing the signs and symptoms. Seeking treatment immediately after the infection is detected helps minimize the spread to the tooth alone or the surrounding tissues and teeth.

An untreated root canal infection spreads beyond the teeth to the face, jaw and may even go as far as the bloodstream.