What To Know About Root Infections

A root infection, also known as a root canal infection, is an infection that occurs in the root of a tooth. It typically occurs when bacteria enter the tooth through a cavity or crack in the tooth, causing the pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth) to become infected and inflamed.

Symptoms and Precautions to Watch For

Symptoms of a root infection may include severe toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, swelling and fever. If left untreated, a root infection can lead to serious complications, including an abscess, bone loss and even systemic infection. 

For example, a root infection can spread to surrounding bone and tissue, which can cause significant damage. This can lead to bone loss, gum disease and even tooth loss in severe cases. In rare cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the bloodstream or the brain. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. If left untreated, the infection can become chronic, which can lead to ongoing pain, discomfort and health issues.

If you are dealing with pain in the mouth area and begin to feel feverish or generally unwell, seek help immediately. Call your dentist and report your symptoms. In most cases, this is considered a dental emergency and you will be seen as soon as possible. 

How a Root Infection Is Treated

Treatment for a root infection typically involves a root canal procedure, which involves removing the infected pulp and cleaning out the root canals of the tooth. The tooth is then filled with a special material and a dental crown may be placed over the tooth to protect it. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to help fight the infection. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen may also be recommended to help alleviate pain and swelling.

How to Prevent Root Infections

Prevention is key to avoiding root infections. Good oral hygiene — including regular brushing, flossing and dental checkups — can help prevent cavities and other dental problems that can lead to a root infection. It is also important to avoid hard or crunchy foods that can crack or damage the teeth and to wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports to protect your teeth from injury. 

Prompt attention to cavities, gum abscesses, missing fillings and cracked teeth is important. Bacteria can enter the smallest areas and infect your tooth roots. To learn more about root infections, speak to a local dentist