An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the tooth’s root. It is caused by bacteria infecting the pulp within a tooth, and the only way to preserve the natural tooth is with a root canal treatment. In addition to an abscess, other root canal complications include:
• Swelling that can spread to other areas of the face, head, and neck
• Bone loss around the tip of the tooth
• Drainage problems extending outward to the tooth. This drainage can lead to the gums or through the cheek into the skin
There are multiple reasons why a root canal treatment will become necessary such as deep tooth decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a large filling, a severe crack or chip in the tooth, or intense trauma to the face.
Many patients realize they need a root canal when they begin experiencing an extreme toothache, prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, darkening of the tooth, swelling in the gums, and a persistent pimple on the gums. The infected material will need to be removed from the tooth via a small hole that is drilled into it. Once the infection is removed, the tooth will be filled with a medicated packing material, and most patients will require a crown placed over the tooth to preserve its shape and function.