What Causes Root Canal Infections
There are many reasons why a tooth can have an infection after a root canal. These include:
- The shape of your root canals can be very complicated and areas of infection may go undetected in the first procedure.
- Your tooth could have narrow or curved canals that werent fully cleaned and disinfected during the root canal.
- Your tooth may also have extra, accessory canals that could be housing bacteria which may reinfect a tooth.
- If the placement of the crown or permanent restoration is delayed following treatment, it could allow harmful bacteria back into your tooth.
- Your tooth may get a new cavity after treatment, or become cracked or damaged, leading to a new root canal infection.
To treat a root canal infection, a root canal retreatment may be recommended to give your tooth a second chance. This retreatment is similar to the first root canal procedure.
In retreatment, your dentist or root canal specialist will typically do the following:
When Do You Need A Root Canal
When you want Dr. Ward to save your tooth with a root canal, you should schedule an appointment when you notice any of the following things:
You have severe tooth pain, especially when you chew or bite
You notice a small, pimple-like bump on your gumline
Your gums are red, swollen, or tender around a particular tooth
You are experiencing tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods or beverages
At Bay City Dental Center, a Midland Michigan dentist, such as Dr. Ward, can explain root canal causes and determine whether a root canal is medically necessary.
What Happens If You Get A Re
Pain or discomfort after a root canal procedure is common. However, this kind of pain is mild and will just disappear by itself over a week or slightly longer.
If the pain persists, or the pain appears long after the root canal is done, it may mean that the tooth is re-infected. You can confirm this by gently tapping your tooth with fingernails . If you feel pain upon tapping the tooth, the bacteria have likely invaded the root treated tooth and start infecting the part surround the tooth root tip.
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Sensitivity To Hot And Cold Food
Do your gums or the treated tooth feels sensitive as you sip along to cold or hot food or liquids? Thats a big red alert that you may be suffering from a root canal infection.
The root canal infection makes your tooth and the surrounding part of your gums hyper-sensitive to temperature changes. Thats why you feel discomfort and a flinching pian if you eat or drink anything hot or cold.
What Causes An Abscessed Tooth
There are many causes for a dental abscess. A very common cause is when a dental cavity becomes so large and deep that it reaches the pulp chamber. An inflammatory process takes place within the tooth. Inflammation of the pulp is usually what is felt as a toothache. Pulpitis is further characterized by tests done by a dentist as reversible or irreversible. Reversible pulpitis means that the pulp is irritated but has an opportunity to recover. Irreversible pulpitis means that it will not recover, and the pulp is dying. Once the pulp is dead , an abscess can form as the infection spreads from the tooth to the gum ligament and jawbone below. Often, a tooth that becomes necrotic can still be saved if steps are taken to resolve the infection at an early stage.
Other causes for a tooth to become necrotic and abscess are a blow to a tooth, dental treatment such as a crown or a filling that gets too close to the pulp chamber, or trauma to a tooth from grinding or clenching. In every form of a tooth abscess, the pulp is adversely affected and is unable to recover from the insult or injury. A blow to the tooth can immediately sever the tooth’s blood supply. When the blood supply is lost, the nutrient supply is also lost. As a result, the pulp quickly dies. Trauma from grinding or clenching is a slower, progressive injury to a tooth.
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Root Canal Temporary Filling
It is important to get a tooth sealed up to keep bacteria out. The first part of your tooth root canal involves the cleaning out of your tooth. Dentists usually wait to apply the permanent filling and crown. You may, however, go home with a temporary filling to keep bacteria out. If you have a severe infection, your dentist may leave the tooth open for a short time. This method ensures that the infection does not get sealed inside your tooth.
Wait A Minute Isnt A Root Canal Supposed To Cure My Infected Tooth
Yes, at least that is what you are told by your well-meaning dentist. What you are not told is that the tooth you are saving by doing a root canal no longer has a blood supply or nerve. So basically you are left with a dead tooth that is cut off from the rest of your body. Blood no longer flows into your tooth so the healing components of your immune system cannot access it to heal the infection in and around it. Your tooth is cut off from your immune and lymph systems, so your body cannot fight any bacteria thats left behind. So what happens over time is that the tooth and the bone around the tooth become reinfected with bacteria that is draining from inside the tooth, and there is nothing the body can do about it. I cant tell you how long this problem will take because it is different for each situation and patient. However, what I can tell you is that once a root canal gets infected again, there is no way for it to heal. Antibiotics, essential oils, colloidal silver, lasers, ozone, whatever we are talking about wont get to the source of the problem because there is no longer any blood supply to carry these things inside the tooth where the infection is.
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So Is A Root Canal A Viable Option For Me
It depends on how much infection there is thats present and how strong your immune system is. If you were a patient in my practice this is how I would advise you:
- If there is very little bacteria and infection that has built up, this is a much better scenario for doing a root canal
- If there is infection present, you need to be careful especially if your are immune compromised, have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or have an auto immune condition
- If an existing root canal gets reinfected, this is where you want to seriously consider removing the tooth
Wait a minute doc. You mean take the tooth out? Unfortunately, thats exactly what I mean. Dont get me wrong, all dentists want to save your teeth, myself included. However, I view infections as a health concern and that is where I draw the line. For me the choice comes down to keeping a tooth or removing a chronic infection that is draining bacteria into your body 24/7. If your immune system is strong your body can deal with this for a long time. However, if your immune system is not or has been weakened over time, this may not be a good idea.
What Are Root Canal Infections
Teeth arent solid all the way through theyre made up of layers. The hard, outer surface of a tooth is called enamel. The inner layer is called dentin and is a porous, almost sponge-like tissue. At the center of each tooth is a collection of soft tissue called pulp.
The pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels that allow the tooth to grow. Its full of cells called odontoblasts that keep the tooth healthy.
A root canal removes the pulp of a tooth thats been infected or damaged by tooth decay or other injuries. Root canals can save teeth and are considered very safe.
Root canal infections arent common, but theres a small chance of a tooth becoming infected even after a root canal is performed.
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Why You May Need Retreatment After A Root Canal
Even when every step of the procedure goes smoothly, a tooth that is treated with a root canal may experience prolonged sensitivity or reinfection. According to the American Association of Endodontists , certain circumstances may prevent a tooth treated with a root canal from healing properly:
- If the dental professional misses tiny, hidden canals or curved canals during the first treatment, the bacteria inside them may not be entirely removed and can cause infection.
- Immediately after the root canal, the dental professional often places a temporary filling to provide a short-term seal for the root canal before placing the permanent restoration . If there is a delay in placing the permanent restoration, there is a greater chance that the root canal can get reinfected.
- If bacteria in the saliva get under the filling material before the filling is placed, the canal can become reinfected.
- If the patient doesn’t maintain proper oral hygiene, new cavities can form on the same tooth that already received a root canal.
- A filling or crown placed on the tooth that received the root canal can crack, loosen or break, allowing a new infection to start.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Root Canal Infection
A little pain immediately after a root canal procedure is normal. You may have discomfort and tenderness that will last a few days after the procedure. You might have mild pain for a week after.
See your dentist if you continue to feel intense pain for more than a week after the procedure, especially if the pain still feels just as uncomfortable or worse than before the procedure was done.
Sometimes, you can get a delayed root canal infection on a tooth thats pain-free for some time. A tooth thats been treated with a root canal may not heal fully, and could become painful or diseased months or even years after treatment.
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Common Causes Of Root Canal Infections
Posted by DR. VOLKI FELAHY on Feb 1 2022, 08:39 PM
An infection that reaches the center pulp of the tooth is often caused by bacteria that reside in the mouth. This happens as a result of tooth decay or leaky fillings. In such cases, root canal treatment is performed.
Root canal or endodontic treatment is a technique to deal with the infection present in the tooth. It is a method to save the tooth from falling. It is not a painful procedure as it saves the tooth from complete removal.
Root canal treatment removes the infected pulp of the tooth which might have resulted due to tooth decay or some other reasons. Root canal infections are very rare but it is possible that the same tooth could get infected even after the treatment.
What Causes A Tooth Infection
The primary cause of a tooth infection is dental caries, or tooth decay. Your mouth is full of bacteria all the time, but usually that bacteria doesnt get inside your teeth where it can cause an infection. When decay causes cavities and cracks or holes in your teeth, bacteria can seep into your teeth and cause a tooth infection. An infection can also happen if you have an injury to your tooth that causes a crack or a chip in the tooth. Keeping your teeth strong and healthy through regular brushing and flossing can help prevent decay and infections.
Infection can happen in different parts of the tooth. Sometimes the infection occurs on the side of the tooth if there is an opening there and that can cause the infection to spread to the gums. Pockets of pus called abscesses can form around the infection that will need to be drained by the dentist for the infection to go away.
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When Is A Tooth Infection An Emergency
A dental abscess infection is always considered a dental emergency. Any visible gum swelling can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
During emergency treatment for a dental abscess, the surgeon will open up the abscess and drain it. This will relieve pressure and reduce any pain associated with the infection.
You will also receive prescription antibiotics to help clear the infection.
Swelling Of Your Gums
Once you undergo a root canal, your gums do swell. However, if it feels like theyre swelling more than usual, thats worrisome. An over swelling or tenderness of your gums when you put pressure on them is one of the signs of root canal infection. Is your swelling still present for an extended period with a pimple forming on the gum? Then you should consult a dentist right away.
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Broken Tooth Root Exposed
When a root becomes exposed, your tooth may begin to hurt or feel sensitive when eating. Hot, cold, or sweet foods may cause intense discomfort. Roots can become exposed from an injury or from receding gums. If a tooth breaks, it can also expose the root. You can break a tooth when you have an injury to your face, or by biting down on something hard.
You may have some delicate teeth if you suffered from previous decay or infection. Teeth with fillings or prior root canal treatments can break, as well. Dentists often use root canal therapy to relieve pain and repair your broken tooth. The experts at Emergency Dentist can help you recover from a broken tooth.
What Is The Success Rate Of Root Canal Retreatment
Success rates for root canal retreatments are high generally ranging from 80% to 88%. Your prognosis, however, can be affected by the type of treatment your tooth received previously. Its also essential to find an endodontic practice with a high level of experience performing retreat root canals, such as Midtown Endodontist NYC.
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What Should One Expect After Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy should relieve the pain you feel. Until your root canal procedure is completely finished — that is, the permanent filling is in place and a crown, if needed, is in place — it’s wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair. This step will help avoid recontaminating the toothâs interior and also may prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored.
For the first few days following the completion of treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This sensitivity or discomfort usually can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen . Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.
As far as oral health care is concerned, brush and floss as you regularly would, and see your dentist at normally scheduled intervals. Because the final step of root canal therapy is application of a restoration such as a crown or a filling, it will not be obvious to onlookers that a root canal was performed.
Root canal treatment is highly successful the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth fixed with root canal therapy can last a lifetime.
Complications Of Root Canal Therapy
Despite your dentist’s best efforts to clean and seal a tooth, new infections might emerge. Among the likely reasons for this include:
Sometimes re-treatment can be successful. Other times, endodontic surgery must be tried in order to save the tooth. The most common endodontic surgical procedure is an apicoectomy, or root-end resection. This procedure relieves the inflammation or infection in the bony area around the end of your tooth. In this procedure, the gum tissue is opened, the infected tissue is removed, and sometimes the very end of the root is removed. A small filling may be placed to seal the root canal.
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Teeth Breaking When A Crown Is Not Placed In A Timely Manner
After the decay that caused the need for a root canal is removed, it is important to have a crown placed on the tooth to help keep it strong and healthy. If a crown is not placed in a timely manner it is possible that the tooth could crack, break, become brittle, or reinfected requiring additional dental treatments or complete removal of the tooth.
Gum Tenderness And Swelling
Here are some swelling symptoms that may point to root canal infections:
- Swelling that lasts for a long period of time
- A gum pimple-like boil situated in front of or on the root tip
- The tooth that feels a bit taller than adjacent teeth
- A recurring pimple that forms on the gums
- Pronounced swelling.
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