4 Complications That Can Arise From Root Canals


On very rare occasions, additional treatments are necessary due to complications with the initial root canal procedure. We like to make sure our patients are well educated possible complications which can arise, so they can be identified as soon as possible to prevent any unnecessary health issues.

Here are 4 rare but possible complications that can occur after root canals:

1. Infection

Although it is not common to get an infection after a root canal treatment, it is a possibility. Infections can result from bacteria entering the tooth and soft tissue during the treatment, a slight perforation to the soft tissue of the tooth and/or inadequate initial root canal therapy.

If infection is suspected or observed your endodontist should prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. Signs of infection include pain, fever, abscess and/or pus. If you experience any of these symptoms after the root canal treatment you should contact your endodontist immediately.

In the case where an infection has spread or is untreatable with common antibiotics, it may be necessary to re-treat the tooth. In the extremely rare case where re-treatment does not or would not suffice apical surgery may be necessary. Apical surgery is only performed if the infection cannot be eradicated via any other method.

2. Teeth breaking when a crown is not placed in a timely manner

After the decay that required the root canal is removed, it is important to have a crown placed on the tooth to help keep it strong and healthy. If a crown is not placed in a timely manner it is possible that the tooth could crack, break or become brittle requiring additional dental treatments or complete removal of the tooth.

3. Root fracture

The root of the tooth can be fractured as a result of decay and/or because of the root canal treatment. If a root fracture were to occur you and your endodontist would need to discuss options for removing or treating the tooth.

4. Numbness

The material used to fill the root canal could move outside of the perimeter of its intended placement. If this were to happen, there is the chance it would cause inflammation in nearby nerves and cause numbness. It is also possible that during the process of getting you numb, the nerve was bumped or punctured or bruising occurred near the nerve. If you experience numbness a day or so after a root canal treatment, you should contact your endodontist immediately.

If you live in the Richmond, Virginia area and have questions about root canals, root canal re-treatments or apical surgery, please do not hesitate to contact us at 804-559-3636.