About seven years ago, I had a root canal on a molar tooth, and my dentist put a cap on the tooth. The cap broke off in December, and a small chip went inside the tooth. I had a lot of pain in the hole and some bleeding. I went back to the dentist, and he cleaned the tooth and said that he removed most of the chip, but part of it broke off. It’s so tiny that he didn’t think it would bother me. He put the cap back on my tooth. It felt better for a while, but now it’s throbbing inside. I don’t know if I’m panicking, but I think I feel pressure in my cheek and eye. Do I need antibiotics? Will I need another root canal, or am I going to lose the tooth? – Thanks. Gina from Utah
Your description sounds like the tooth is infected again, and you need to see your dentist. Your symptoms don’t mean that you’re panicking; the infection is getting worse. When your dentist did your first root canal, the filling material didn’t stay in place. In addition to the piece of the crown that went into your tooth, saliva might have contaminated the filling material and your tooth.
Why Antibiotics Aren’t Enough for Your Tooth Infection
- The pain and swelling you describe can travel into your cheek, eye, jawbone, into your bloodstream, and even your brain and cause dizziness.
- Although antibiotics can help control the infection, it won’t remove it. If you delay treatment, the infection will get worse. And it can become resistant to antibiotics.
- Eventually, your dentist or a specialist might need to extract your tooth. Although a dental implant mimics a natural tooth, no form of tooth replacement is as effective as a natural tooth. Preserve your tooth and see your dentist right away.
If your dentist is unable to resolve the issue, ask to be referred to an endodontist—a root canal specialist. Root canal specialists have tools that reach deep into the canal to access infection and debris. If the specialist can save your tooth, your dentist can restore it with a new crown.
Colorado Springs dentist Dr. Joseph Rota sponsors this post.