Q. After RCT treatment, how did the infection get spread to the jaw?

Answered by
Dr. Tinu Thampy
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Mar 05, 2017

Hi doctor,

I had a root canal by a general dentist. I was told that the tooth was infected and going through with the procedure would be my best. I consented and had my treatment. I was done with the treatment and came home with full of instructions given to me. I had Penicillin and Ibuprofen for every six hours. Initially, it was fine, but I awake the next day with more pain and swollen face. When I called up my dentist, he said that he has to remove the cap and the tooth as the infection got spread to the jaw. Apparently, the infection was already in the jaw, and he did not tell me that. If so, then I would have opted for extraction. I am aware that the root of all the teeth are curved and have been told that it may make the procedure a bit difficult. I understand that being neglectful has its price. I have attached the x-ray here for better management. I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks in advance.

Dr. Tinu Thampy

Dentistry Maxillofacial Prosthodontist Oral And Maxillofacial Surgery Oral Implantologist


Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • As per the radiograph (attachment removed to protect patient identity), your tooth infection had extended beyond the root apex and entered the underlying bone, and it becomes a periapical abscess. The tooth roots are much flared also.
  • Root canal treatment is a conservative approach to save the natural tooth by removing the infected tissue within the pulp chamber and root canal.
  • Some teeth may have additional root canals than usual. So, there may be chances to miss any canals during root canal treatment. For example in lower molars usually three canals are there, but in some patients, the same tooth may have up to five canals.
  • In some cases, the apex of the root canal may be very narrow, calcified and curved. So, the orientation of the instrument may deviate from the exact root canal curvature and take another path. Hence, a part of the swellings will be untreated or not cleared from infected tissue. Initially, it can subside with antibiotics, but later infection can be exaggerated after stopping antibiotics.
  • One more reason for secondary infection is the infected tissue that can be pushed beyond the apex during the procedure. It can also cause a secondary infection.
  • If swelling of the face is more, then better get the extraction followed by incision and drainage of the abscess done by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

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