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Everything You Need to Know About Root Canal Infections


When your tooth becomes damaged over time and leads to an infection, you still have the chance to nurse it without having to remove the whole tooth right away. Instead, you can undergo a root canal procedure, but it will ultimately depend on your tooth’s condition and whether your dentist will recommend saving it or pulling it out completely.

The treatment is called a root canal because the canals located inside your tooth’s roots go through in-depth cleaning to remove the problem. Back in the day, root canals were painful. Thanks to modern technology and advanced solutions, the times have changed for patients.

After a root canal procedure, some people can continue to face complications in the form of an infection. Keep reading below to learn more about it to help you figure out if your situation requires a return trip to the dentist.

Understanding Root Canal Infections

Human teeth comprise several layers. The outer part is a hard surface known as enamel; the inner part, which is soft and porous, is called dentin, while the center part is composed of multiple tissues called the pulp.

In the pulp exists nerves and blood vessels that support your teeth’s growth. It consists of cells named odontoblasts, working to keep your teeth healthy and strong. When you have an infected tooth, you will require a dental emergency and undergo a root canal procedure.

The situation can happen due to tooth decay or other dental problems. Through the treatment, a dentist will safely remove your tooth’s infected pulp to salvage your tooth without having to take the whole tooth out. Although infections aren’t typical, they can happen even after the procedure.

Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection

Following a root canal treatment, you can expect discomfort, tenderness, and pain for the next couple of days. Meanwhile, the week after that could still bring mild pain. But if it persists and becomes worse, it’s crucial to consult with a dentist near you for help. 

In some cases, you can acquire a delayed root canal infection on the same tooth even after getting rid of the pain. Unfortunately, some teeth that have gone through a root canal treatment might not heal completely and can become more painful or infected months or years after the procedure.

Reasons Behind a Root Canal Infection

Root canal infections stem from various reasons. It could be because of how your root canals are formed that an emergency dentist cannot spot where the infection is during the procedure. If your tooth has complicated canals, it can give dentists a hard time cleaning and disinfecting them properly and ensuring the infection is gone.

Teeth with additional accessory canals are at risk of storing bacteria, which causes reinfection and will require another root canal procedure. For people who need dental implants, such as a crown or a permanent restoration, if it becomes delayed for some time, it could lead to bacteria growth and eventually an infection. 

Besides that, after going through a root canal treatment, your teeth can still acquire cavities and other dental issues, such as cracks or damage. As a result, an infection can appear in your root canals and may require you to go back to your dentist.


Although root canal infections are uncommon, they can still happen to you, depending on your situation. The best thing you can do to keep it from happening is to pay more attention to your oral health after facing a root canal treatment and receiving emergency dental services immediately at the first sign of reinfection. 

Are you looking for emergency dental care in Raleigh, NC, for your infected root canal? Dr. Thomas E. Cooke Family Dentistry offers a full range of dental services, including routine checkups, teeth cleaning, teeth restoration, and replacement procedures. Get in touch with us today to book an appointment!