Root canal treatment is an alternative treatment to tooth extraction. Root canal is performed to save the tooth from extraction. Severely infected tooth due to bacterial infection and decays can cause toothache. In order to relief toothache it may become mandatory to remove or extract the infected aching tooth. However, root canal procedure can treat the infection from the root without needing a tooth to be removed.
In root canal treatment, tooth is drilled within the tooth reach the root canals. Root canal is then cleaned, shaped and sealed completely with a cement to protect the teeth from infections. However, in some individuals gum infection after root canal treatment can happen. This infection can be due to root canal failure. Though there are fewer chances of root canal failures, there are few possible reasons that may cause the infection to reappear.
Possible reasons for gum infection after root canal treatment-
- Untreated root canal- Since each tooth can have a number of root canals; it is possible that one or few infected root canals might have been missed by the dentist. If the dentist is unable to locate the infected tooth and left it untreated remaining infection can cause abscess in the gums.
- Insufficient root canal- Inadequate root canal treatment or defective root canal can cause recontamination of the root canal and harbor new bacterial infection causing gum infection.
- Fractured root- Undetected broken or cracked tooth during and after root canal treatment can cause gum infection after root canal.
- Seal breakdown- Over time sealing material (gutta percha) can breakdown or can get leaked. Broken or leaked sealing can allow bacteria to invade the root canals and cause gum infection and abscess formation.
- Abscessed gum- A new gum infection after root canal treatment can lead to abscessed gum infection after root canal.
Inflammation of the gum-
If root canal fails due to any reason during the procedure an inflammation of the gum results. The inflammation of the gums occurs at the tooth bone area and to relieve this inflammation a procedure called apicoectomy is performed. Gum infection after root canal treatment can result in pimple like spots in the gums (at the tip of the tooth root or bone). This small spots are called as fistula. Fistula formation is a sign of gum infection after root canal and you may need an apicoectomy to relieve the infection.
Prior to apicoectomy, second root canal procedure is performed to clean the root canal area. If the first and second root canal is not successful in eliminating the infection, then apicoectomy is considered as the last option to save the tooth from extraction.
In apicoectomy, root end or apex (through which blood vessels and nerves enter the tooth) is removed besides the infected pulp tissue. This is done by cutting or operating the gum area using operating microscope to eliminate the gum infection and to ease the inflammation. Apicoectomy is also called as endodontic microsurgery.
The main disadvantage of root canal is incomplete removal of infection can lead to gum infections. Gum infection occurs when the latex pulp is injected to replace the natural pulp causing the infected pulp tissue to push through the root of the tooth.
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