About seven years ago, I had a root canal on a molar tooth, and my dentist put a cap on the tooth. In December, the cap broke off, 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 is so tiny that he did not think it would bother me. He put the cap back on my tooth. It felt better for a while, but now it is throbbing inside. I do not know if I am 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. Kip from Utah
Your description sounds like the tooth is infected again, and you need to see your dentist. When your dentist did your first root canal, the filling material did not stay in place. After your crown broke, saliva might have contaminated the filling material and your tooth.
Why Antibiotics Are Not Enough for Your Tooth Infection
Antibiotics may not be enough to resolve your tooth infection for these reasons:
- The pain and swelling you describe can travel into your jawbone, bloodstream, and even your brain and cause dizziness.
- Although antibiotics can help control the infection, they will not 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 cannot resolve the issue, ask him to refer you to an endodontist—a root canal specialist. Root canal specialists and dentists with advanced training in root canal therapy have tools that reach deep into the canal to access infection and debris. If they can save your tooth, your dentist can restore it with a new crown.