why is it,

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why is it, nearly every tooth I’ve had root canal treatment on ends up infected?? I had a filling fall out on Monday 19th March (the majority of my tooth on this one had collapsed last year) so I was left with a gaping hole. Didn’t have tooth ache or anything but I was just scared the whole tooth would break with having no filling. I went to my NHS dentist on Wednesday 21st March who cleaned out the tooth with a drill and refilled it. Later that day/night, I started to get toothache. When I went to work the next day the tooth and surrounding teeth felt sore and very sensitive if my teeth closed together. I went back to my NHS dentist who said I’d got an infection and prescribed me amoxycillin. The night of Thursday 22nd March I was in horrendous pain with it and didn’t get any sleep. Woke Friday 23rd March morning and my face was swollen and my entire mouth hurt. I went back to my NHS dentist again that morning and she removed the filling I’d had done on Wednesday saying it should calm down now and to keep on taking the anti-biotics and to see her later in the week for a possible full extraction. It’s now Saturday 24th March 2012 and I’m in absolute agony! My face is swollen and it hurts to move or walk about the house. Feels like a heart beat is in my whole upper jaw. Why can the tooth not be extracted when there is an infection? Why do I have to wait a week and a course of anti-biotics? The pain is horrendous and I’ve lost count of how many pain killers I’ve taken!

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Asked on 24/03/2012 12:00 am
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Private answer

Teeth only become infected if bacteria from the mouth is able to get into the nerve and track down the root into the jawbone
Root filled teeth are more brittle and most authorities would advise crowning them to reduce the risk of fracture (but even crowned teeth can snap off at gum level if sufficient force is applied)
If a root filled tooth breaks and the root filling is exposed (pink Gutta Percha) then the bacteria can eventually invade this and track into the bone
The effect of this is as you describe and it can take some time for mechanical cleaning and antibiotics to control the subsequent infection.
There is a small risk of spreading the infection deeper if the tooth is extracted (and post op infection occurring) while still infected but this must be balanced against the benefit of removing the tooth and allowing the infection to drain away
The best pain killers tend to be Ibuprofen and Paracetamol mixed but always make a note of how many and when you take them (especially in the middle of the night) so that you don't overdose and cause more problems than just toothache

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 27/03/2012 12:00 am