Signs and Causes of Infection After a Root Canal and How to Treat It

Signs and Causes of Infection After a Root Canal and How to Treat It

Sep 01, 2019

A root canal is an endodontic treatment performed for removing the infection and treating a decayed tooth. But what if your tooth gets infected after the procedure? Many people are curious to know if their tooth can get re-infected after removing the decay and the answer is yes. Though the chances are rare, it is not completely impossible for the tooth to get infected again. It is important that people are aware of the symptoms of infection so that they can take precautions and make sure that it doesn’t spread further. Here’s a look at some signs of infection after a root canal.

  • Pimple on Gums

Many people with decayed teeth and infection have pimple near the tooth and may or may not experience the pain. The pimple will release fluid or pus but it will begin to get smaller and disappear once the decay has been removed. However, if the abscess remains even after 7 to 10 days post-procedure, it can be a sign of infection and you must consult an endodontist.

  • Fever

If you have a temperature of more than 99.5 degrees, it can be a sign that you have a fever and a consultation is needed.

  • Lethargic Feeling

If you are feeling tired or down after the procedure it is normal but it should subside within a few days. If you feel tired even after seven to ten days, you must connect with your endodontist.

  • Constant Pain and Swelling

Pain, swelling, or soreness for a few days after the treatment is normal but if you feel it persists, or the pain gets worsened after a few days, it is a sign of infection and you need to see the dentist.

  • Feeling Hot in The Area Around Tooth and Gums

When an area is infected, it often feels hot. If the area feels abnormally warm, it is time to inform the dentist immediately.

What Causes Infection After Root Canal Procedure?

Despite the efforts made by the dentist for cleaning the infection from your decayed tooth, it might emerge. Here’s a look at some of the possible reasons for the same.

  • A crack in the root of a tooth which remains undetected.
  • A breakdown of the inner sealing material over the time which allows the bacteria to re-contaminate the inner aspects of the tooth and nearby area.
  • More than usually expected number of root canals in a tooth.
  • Defective or inadequate dental restoration which allowed the bacteria to make its way inside the tooth.

How Is the Infection Treated?

If your tooth develops an infection even after removing the decay, an Apicoectomy may be required. It is the procedure for treating an infected tooth. When the dentist removes the decay and infection, the canals are cleaned and the inflamed or infected tissues are removed. The root canals are quite complex with several small branches off the main canal. Even after the treatment, infected debris can remain in the branches and prevent healing or cause re-infection later on.

During the apicoectomy, the root tip, or apex is removed along with the infected tissue and a filling is placed for sealing the end of the root. It is also known as endodontic microsurgery as the procedure is performed under an operating microscope.

Apicoectomy Procedure

The endodontist will first cut the gum away from the tooth so that the root can be accessed easily. The infected tissue is then removed along with the last few millimeters of the tip of the root. Then, he or she will dye the highlighted crack and fracture in the tooth. If the tooth is cracked or fractured, it can be extracted and the apicoectomy will not continue.

For completing the apicoectomy, at least 3 to 4 millimeters of tooth’s canal are cleaned followed by the sealing. Most of the procedures take around 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the location of the tooth along with the complexity of the tooth structure. It has been observed that the front teeth are usually the shortest. The endodontist will prescribe medications and guide you on Do’s and Don’ts for a faster recovery.

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