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What are the Most Common Root Canal Complications?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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While the typical root canal goes just fine, the possible complications of this operation often cause people to dread it. One of the most common possibilities is the dentist failing to notice either a root canal or crack in the tooth while cleaning the other teeth. Such problems can lead to an infection in the mouth, which can result in a fractured tooth that needs to be either surgically repaired or removed. In some cases, root canal complications occur after the surgery, such as excessive pain and swelling.

In some cases, a dentist might be treating one or more root canals in the mouth by cleaning and sealing them, not noticing that he has missed one. Failing to notice a tooth that needs to be cleaned and sealed can cause a problem since it may be difficult to reach and treat the tooth. This is because some root canals are oddly shaped, resulting in an inability to correctly clean and fill the space under the tooth. Unfortunately, just leaving the tooth untreated can lead to infection, as can failing to notice a crack in the tooth. In general, any gaps or cracks in or around the teeth can invite bacteria inside.

A possible result of a tooth infection is susceptibility to fracture, which is one of the most common root canal complications. This issue often requires surgery so that the fractured root can be removed, but in some cases, the entire tooth is too damaged to save. Therefore, it might need to be extracted completely, requiring more surgery. Fortunately, it can be replaced with a dental implant so that there are no obvious signs that the original tooth had to be removed. Of course, this is typically considered the worst case scenario when it comes to root canal complications involving infection, as most of the time the issue can be detected and treated before any lasting damage occurs.

Some root canal complications take patients by surprise, appearing shortly after a seemingly successful surgery. The good news is that most of them are minor, and can be treated quickly. For example, pain and swelling may seem severe, but they can usually be managed with medication, as both over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers are commonly used to treat such root canal complications. Of course, if these products do not work well, it may be necessary to return to the dentist to have revision surgery, which may include either tooth extraction or another root canal.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.

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Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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