2 Root Canal Complications And How They Are Treated

If you have an infected tooth and your dentist has scheduled a root canal treatment for you, then you should know that the procedure is probably necessary. The root canal will help to get rid of the infected material inside the tooth to prevent the spread of the infection and to save the tooth itself. Root canals are standard, and dentists perform 41,000 root canals a day and around 15 million treatments a year. Even though the treatments are both routine and necessary, you should still know that complications can occur. Keep reading to learn about possible complications and how your dentist will treat each problem.

Root Fractures

What Happens?

When a root canal is performed, your dentist will need to release as much of the dental pulp from the tooth as possible. If pulp, bacteria, and pus are left behind, then a new infection can occur. Your dentist will need to open up the tooth again if this happens to retreat it. To prevent this, the professional will use dental files. These files are long, wound metal instruments made from steel or titanium. The 21, 25, or 31 millimeter tools are moved into the pulp chamber of the tooth and down towards the root. The files scrape or debride the tooth roots as they move. Unfortunately, the tooth roots may be weak from infection and general decay. The roots are also quite thin compared to the rest of the parts of the tooth. These things can lead to the dental root cracking during the treatment.

How Is It Treated?

If the fracture occurs close to the gum line, then the tooth may be extracted. However, since the tooth root becomes thicker as it moves closer to the gums, the root is much more likely to crack near the very tip. Your dentist will complete an x-ray if the fracture is noted. If the tooth fragment has not moved from its position, then your dentist may be able to continue with tooth filling. The gutta percha or rubberized material will usually cement the root in place. 

If x-rays reveal that the dental root has moved or shifted a small amount, then the tip may need to be surgically removed. This will not cause any long term effects since the rest of the intact tooth will be filled. The dental professional may also decide to splint the tooth for a period of time.

Tooth Darkening

What Happens?

When a root canal is completed, the tooth is completely cleared of the capillaries, pulp, and root fibers. When the filling is put in the tooth, some of the material may flow over the side of it and cause an orange discoloration. Gray teeth may be noted if a small portion of the root was left behind. This type of color or a light beige may be seen as well, even if the root canal is performed perfectly. This is often caused by the drying of the tooth since the removed tissues are usually responsible for providing moisture.

How Is I Treated?

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your tooth after a root canal treatment, then your dentist can assist you with this. A crown may be suggested, and this is often wise since the tooth will be dead and somewhat brittle after the root canal treatment is over. A porcelain crown can be secured and the ceramic materials will be colored to match the tone of the rest of your teeth.

If your tooth does not need a dental crown because it is relatively healthy and strong, then your dentist can suggest a type of whitening instead. This whitening is called intracoronal bleaching and it involves the placement of hydrogen peroxide or other bleaching agents inside the tooth. This helps to whiten the internal fillings. However, regular bleaching techniques can be used instead if the exterior of the tooth is causing the discoloration issue.