Infection After Root Canal Treatment

A root canal treatment is a dental treatment that is meant to treat a tooth that has been severely affected by decay. It is a treatment that only occurs once the internal structure, the dentine and the pulp of a tooth have been affected. During the process, the inside of the tooth is removed, and roots are shaped and filled with an antibiotic filling. This may be repeated several times, until the infection is fought off, and the remaining tooth structure is free from bacteria. 

Failed Root Canal Treatment

When a root canal treatment has failed, it may not become apparent until an infection sets in. The failure means that some of the infection has stayed on, and now started living in the tooth or the surrounding periodontal tissue. This failure will result in infection, and possibly a lot of pain as well. This infection can go on without pain as well, and that should be apparent from swelling, discoloration, and possibly a foul smell or discharge from the tooth that has been root canaled.


One of the worst things that can possibly happen as a result of a botched or incomplete root canal treatment is the appearance of an abscess. A dental abscess is a bacterial colony that the body’s immune system has decided needs to be isolated and surrounded by a tiny bubble of flesh. An abscess can hurt a lot, can lead to serious infections, and can cause necrosis of the tissues surrounding it, touching it or that are in any way in association with it. It can also result in tooth loss, and necrosis of the jaw. 

What To Do

Seeing as bacteria are microscopic in nature, it may be well impossible for the dentist to tell if the root canal treatment has been a success or not, although dental radiography, or x-rays, can give a very good indicator, but even the most sensitive instruments do not necessarily yield the necessary results if the infection is so small. A very good indication is if there is swelling, pain, bleeding after a few days, or if the swelling and bleeding that can be a natural result of a root canal treatment does not subside. The important thing is to be careful, and to get back to your dentist if anything happens, or if anything does not go the way it is supposed to. This may be an indication that an infection has set in, and a check up will not hurt at all, anyways.