The temporary filling came out of my upper left canine tooth, and an abscess formed on my gum. My dentist recommended a repeat root canal to get rid of the abscess. Since the abscess isn’t painful, do I need a second root canal, or will antibiotics work just as well? I would like to move forward with a resolution because I’m scheduled to begin Invisalign in April. – Thanks. Bryce
A root canal removes a tooth infection. A dentist will seal the root to prevent bacteria from re-entering. Replacing the pulp with root canal filler material and sealing it with cement is crucial to the long-term success of the treatment.
Temporary Filling: A Critical Step
A dentist places a temporary filling immediately after a root canal to protect the seal from saliva, which can degrade the root canal’s filling material if exposed.
Risks of Exposure: If the temporary filling falls out or a dentist doesn’t place it correctly, saliva can seep in and compromise the seal, potentially leading to a recurrence of the infection.
Will Antibiotics Get Rid of a Tooth Infection?
Antibiotics cannot reach the inside of the tooth due to the lack of blood circulation there, making them ineffective for treating the internal aspects of a tooth infection. They can only temporarily address abscesses in the gum and bone. The infection will return when you stop taking the medication.
Potential Risks of Ignoring Treatment
Left untreated, infections can spread to critical areas such as the eye or brain, especially infections in the upper jaw.
- Antibiotic Resistance: Misusing antibiotics can contribute to developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, posing a broader health risk.
- Long-Term Damage: An untreated infection can cause decay from inside the tooth, eventually making it unrestorable, creating the need for extraction and a dental implant.
Ignoring failed root canal treatment poses serious health risks, emphasizing the need for prompt and proper follow-up care, including the placement of a permanent restoration like a crown. Treatment delays can lead to a dental emergency.
If you are hesitant about your dentist’s recommendation, you can get a second opinion from a dentist with advanced root canal training or an endodontist (root canal specialist).
David Finley, DDS, a Monroe, Louisiana, accredited cosmetic dentist and Academy of General Dentistry Fellow, sponsors this post. Read about what Dr. Finley and his team do to provide some of the best dental care in Monroe.