Anyone who has ever had a root canal infection will know that it’s a particularly debilitating oral condition. Problems occur when bacteria invade the inner pulp chamber of the tooth and start to wreak havoc. Usually, the best/only way to deal with it at this point is with root canal treatment.

Speedy treatment is key because a root canal infection can quickly spread to other parts of the tooth and gums. In some cases it can and will spread far beyond the tooth itself, causing infection in the face, jaw and even worse – it can enter the bloodstream.

The good news is that if caught quickly, any root canal infection can be eradicated using root canal treatment. In fact, root canal treatment is a proven and effective way to clean out the damaged or infected pulp and save/restore the tooth.

To ensure a timely visit to the dentist to restore your oral health it’s wise to familiarise yourself with the signs so that you can get the timely root canal treatment you need.

With this in mind, here are 4 warning signs that a root canal infection is either imminent or present.


1.) Pain

Although not every root canal infection causes pain, the worst tooth infections can bring about excruciating discomfort. The soft inner chamber also houses the central nervous system for the tooth, so there is likely to be at least some form of discomfort. Inevitably, tooth pain is normally what drives people to visit the dentist for root canal treatment.

Typical signs of root canal infection pain are a continual dull ache or a sharp pain that often intensifies when biting down. Some people also experience extreme tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking something cold.

In addition, discomfort can also emanate from the gum area around the infected tooth and is usually accompanied by noticeable swelling.

2.) A darkening of the tooth

Once bacteria have entered the inner layer of the tooth and infection has reached the pulp tissue, it can show in the form of darkening. This is because the tissues that lie within the root canal are dying.As they do so, they change colour to a dark or yellowish brown. This, in turn, changes the colour of the tooth.

During a root canal treatment, all infected root canals are cleaned out and backfilled with gutta-percha. A crown is then placed onto the tooth to protect it and improve oral health.


3.) Dental abscess

During the latter stages of a root canal infection, a person might also experience a dental abscess. Most people are under the impression that a dental abscess forms as part of a tooth infection. While they may be right in a sense, a dental abscess is, in fact, a defence mechanism deployed by the body in direct response to the root canal infection.

The abscess forms a protective pus-filled barrier around the tooth preventing bacteria from further attacking the tooth.

The problem is that pus itself contains bacteria along with dead tissue and cells which collectively, can cause a whole host of oral health problems including tender or swollen lymph nodes, facial or cheek swelling, severe pain, fever, and discomfort or difficulty in breathing or swallowing.

So if you do notice a dental abscess, the best thing you can do is to talk to your dentist about root canal treatment immediately.


4.) Chronic Bad Breath

Unfortunately once an oral infection takes hold it can cause chronic bad breath. This is often persistent even after brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Root canal infection, particularly when a dental abscess is present, can also leave a bitter taste in the mouth.


Spot the root canal infection warning signs

If you do experience one or more of the warning signs listed above then it could be a good indicator that you need root canal treatment. Treating this dental infection using the latest endodontic (root canal) therapy isn’t as scary as it sounds. The actual procedure is relatively comfortable and the dentist will work fast to get you out of any pain or discomfort. So at the very least, you will be out of pain and infection free. But at best, the tooth will be fully restored giving you renewed oral health.

If you think that you may have a root canal infection then contact the team of Beyond 32 Dental at (02) 9158 6334. We’re a team of highly experienced dentists who will diagnose and treat your problem quickly and easily. Call or book online today and let us help you alleviate your discomfort fast!

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