Can You Get an Abscess in a Tooth After a Root Canal?

Anyone that has had a root canal knows the dread and anxiety that go along with it. Not only does the pain the abscess cause drive many to tears and sleepless nights, but the treatment can be scary. After all, drilling and cleaning out a tooth can be a traumatic experience for some, even with the most qualified professional conducting the procedure. However, once the job is done, we can move on with our lives, knowing that the worst is over. Right? The answer that nobody likes to hear is – wrong.

Root Canals

Nobody is perfect. Most of us neglect our dental hygiene sometimes or experience an injury that leads to dental complications. One of the worst-case scenarios is a periapical abscess, or what many refer to as an infected tooth. In such instances, the dentist decides what the best course of action is. They examine your condition and decide whether to extract or repair the tooth. If your tooth is salvageable, then you will probably get a root canal treatment.

In cases that need a root canal, the nerves and blood vessels in the pulp of the tooth are no longer useful. In fact, the pus or abscess created from the infection is highly infectious and can cause problems. To prevent further complications, dentists will decide to remove the infected pulp within the tooth. The process involves creating an opening and cleaning out the cavity all the way to the root. Once that process is done, the tooth is filled and sealed. In most cases, a crown is placed over the tooth to restore the initial structure and look.

The Worst Is Over! Or is It?

While a good percentage of root canals go off without a hitch and result in happy patients that don’t experience any problems, some do not. Some procedures can end up with residual infections or even new infections. Even the best dentists with the best technology on the market can end up with such patients. This is because dentistry, just like anything else, is not flawless. Infection can still occur due to incomplete removal of infected tissue, voids in the filler, or undetected accessory canals. All the listed situations lead to a root canal failure. In such cases, the infected tissue can remain dormant for any amount of time. It can show up in a couple of days or cause problems in a couple of years.

Repeated infections are not always the result of the previous treatment. In fact, even perfect root canals can get infected if there is a crack in the tooth. Teeth that go through a root canal are not as healthy as they were before. The internal supporting structure is gone, and the tooth does not have the pulp to nourish it like before. Because of this, it is more prone to damage. If the tooth has a vertical fracture that leads down to the root, it can cause another infection. These infections can gradually begin to cause problems for patients. They are usually detected when an abscess shows up on the gums of the patient. In such situations, the only course of action is an extraction.

Dentists do their best to make their patients’ lives easier. They always look to eliminate and prevent further complications with every treatment. However, it is not always possible. There are a lot of variables that can alter the results of a root canal. The best thing to do is to not neglect our dental hygiene and to have regular check-ups.