How does a root canal become infected?

children’s root canal Fort WorthA root canal is a procedure where the soft interior of the roots of a tooth are removed due to a breach in the tooth or infection. A tooth that has been severely damaged due to decay or a break in the tooth itself can lead to bacteria invading the tooth. This can occur in patients of all ages; a children’s root canal specialist may be consulted if symptoms are present in a child.

If your kid’s dentist has recommended a root canal to salvage your child’s tooth, the procedure is completed; and based on which tooth was involved, the opening that allowed treatment to be done is sealed in one of two ways.

If no obvious infection was noted, the root canal is cleaned out removing the nerve and pulp tissue, and the access point is sealed with either a tooth colored material known as composite resin or a larger restoration like a crown may be needed (usually if the tooth is cracked or broken, the procedure will be completed with a crown to prevent further problems).

If there was an undetected crack in the root of the tooth, or the restoration placed to seal the access point for the root canal is improperly placed or defective, the patient may experience the need for retreatment due to infection. Bacteria may permeate the tooth resulting in infection.

The clues that the root canal may be infected may not be as obvious as the original problem. While chewing pain and sensitivity to heat and cold signaled a problem with the tooth originally, an infected root canal can occur without obvious signs present. The patient is aware that the nerve was removed, so pain may not be present.

If a root canal becomes infected, the dentist may see a fistula. This is infected matter that has burrowed to the surface, and can be immediately spotted if present after a children’s root canal procedure. Another possible cause for infection is that the tooth involved may have had more roots than anticipated. This is why a dental x-ray is taken to try to identify all roots. But if all of a tooth’s roots are not treated, this can lead to infection following the procedure.

The root canal procedure has a very high success rate. To learn more or to schedule your child’s appointment, contact Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry at 817-569-6633 today.