Potential Complications of a Root Canal

Root canal treatment is very common and consists of the removal of the tooth pulp, related tissues, blood vessels and nerves. The pulp is located in the middle of the tooth and it is responsible for providing nourishment. In a mature tooth, the pulp can be removed if necessary and the tooth will be nourished through the gums. The removal of the pulp is necessary when it is infected due to an untreated cavity or when it is damaged by a tooth fracture. Usually, root canal treatments are successful and they prolong the life of the tooth. However, a devitalized tooth is prone to fracture and in time, it might need further treatments. There are also several other complications that might appear after a root canal.

Bacterial Infection

A root canal treatment involves opening the canal for cleaning. While this is done, the air which enters the canal might stimulate bacteria to grow and develop in the canal. During the cleaning process, bacteria can be pushed through a hole from the blood vessels. Blood vessels reach the pulp through a hole located at the tip of the root and if bacteria are pushed through that hole, they can infect the tissue surrounding it. This causes pain and inflammation.

Bacterial inflammation and infection have to be treated with painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics. If you feel pain after a root canal, you should consult your dentist so that proper treatment is administered.

Puncture of the Root Canal

The tools dentists use for a root canal procedure are flexible and they bend respecting the form of the canal. However, if a canal is curved or difficult to find, it can be punctured. If the hole resulting after the puncture allows saliva to enter the tooth, it has to be filled. Sometimes this is not possible and the tooth needs to be removed. If the punctured is deep, under the gum, the hole might heal on its own without causing any further complications.

Infected Canals

There are cases when finding all root canals is extremely difficult. Canals may have branches which might be impossible for the dentist to reach and clean. Part of the infected pulp tissue can still remain in the tooth if the canals are not cleaned all the way to the bottom due to incorrect measurement. In all these cases, the infection will persist and the treatment needs to be repeated.

Broken File

The instruments dentists use such as the file are typically reliable. However, there might be cases when the file’s tip breaks inside the root canal. If the canal has already been cleaned, the broken part can be left inside the tooth. If the canal still needs cleaning, the tip of the file has to be removed.

If it cannot be taken out through the opening of the canal, it might need a minor surgical procedure called apicoectomy. This means that the dentist cuts into the gum and reaches for the file from the bottom of the canal.

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