How Can I Prevent Infection after Root Canal?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2019
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To prevent infection after root canal, you will likely need to temporarily follow some diet guidelines, keep little if any pressure on the newly-crowned tooth, and sometimes take an antibiotic following the procedure. To help minimize discomfort, you may also need to take anti-inflammatory medication before the local anesthetic wears off. Getting a root canal is often necessary to remove infected tooth pulp that can result from untreated cavities or other tooth trauma.

A root canal can sometimes be uncomfortable, though it should not be painful due to the effectiveness of dental anesthetic injections. A finished root canal will usually have a soft or rough spot on either the top or side of the tooth where the dentist inserts the procedure instrument. To help prevent an infection after root canal, you should avoid licking or touching this spot; doing so could introduce more bacteria and lead to further complications. Some finished root canals can develop a small pustule on the gum line near the tooth. This bump should generally be left to heal on its own without popping or squeezing it.


Many dentists will give patients a list of foods to avoid in order to help prevent infection after having a root canal. These often include chewing gum, sticky candy, and sugary soda. Some also may advise that you eat limited amounts of food with refined white sugars because these naturally attract bacteria and can often increase the chances of infection. Avoiding foods with refined white flour is also sometimes effective at keeping harmful bacteria away from a healing root canal site.

Finished root canals often require a crown to prevent the weakened tooth from cracking or even breaking. Your dentist will typically need to take an impression of your tooth in order to make a crown that will fit correctly, and you may be fitted with a temporary crown until the permanent one is finished. Some cases of infection after root canal can result from food particles becoming trapped under a crown, so you should try to only chew food on the opposite side of your mouth until your permanent tooth crown is fitted.

Infection after root canal can sometimes happen even with these preventative measures, so many dentists often prescribe an antibiotic. This medication should usually be taken only for the recommended time period during the time of root canal recovery. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also usually be taken to help with any normal tooth aching that should generally subside after the first week.


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Post 4

@literally45: What happened with your infections? Did you get an extraction? If you know how dangerous they are, why did you get it done?

Post 3

The best way to prevent an infection from a root canal is to see an excellent dentist who does detailed and sterile work or just not get a root canal at all.

I've suffered from two root canal therapy infections even though I followed all of the directions of my dentist. I found out both times that a gap was left in the root canal which basically locked in bacteria that caused an infection.

Root canal work requires perfect sterility and absolutely no space left when placing the crown. Even a small bit of cotton left inside will lead to a terrible infection.

Plus, the infections caused by root canals are very dangerous. It can travel to the brain and have terrible consequences.

Post 2

@simrin-- Yes, root canal is a treatment for infection and if done correctly, it should not lead to an infection.

I think one thing that people don't follow through with after a root canal is the antibiotic treatment. A full course of antibiotics must be taken to successfully kill any bacteria that might be there. Some people take their antibiotics for a day or two and stop because they feel fine. And then several weeks later, they start experiencing the pain of infection.

After my root canal, I finished my entire course of antibiotics. I also brushed my teeth and used mouthwash often. I made sure to clean my teeth after eating fruit and sugary drinks. I didn't get an infection, everything was fine.

Post 1

Aren't root canals meant to treat infection? It's odd that a root canal would lead to an infection.

Is it possible for an infection to occur after a root canal despite all these precautions?

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