After a root canal, the temporary filling fell out of my upper left first molar. My dentist says I need a repeat root canal because the tooth is abscessed. The abscess isn’t painful, though. Why can’t I eliminate the abscess with antibiotics instead of another root canal? I dread going through another round of sedation and a root canal. Thanks. Simon from Huntington, NY
It would be best to have a repeat root canal to eliminate an abscess and infection. Antibiotics alone are not enough for root canal failure.
A dentist removes the infected tooth pulp during root canal treatment and replaces the pulp with a dental filling material and cement. A temporary filling protects the tooth from saliva and infection. However, a temporary filling must be replaced with a dental crown. Otherwise, your saliva will wear the seal between the filling and your tooth. When bacteria enter the tooth, infection recurs.
Can Antibiotics Alone Treat a Tooth Abscess?
Antibiotics alone cannot treat a tooth abscess. The medicine circulates through your bloodstream to remove the infection but does not remove the infection inside the tooth. When you stop taking antibiotics, the abscess will return. A cycle of starting and stopping antibiotics can breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria, creating the need for increasingly more potent medicine.
In contrast, root canal treatment removes the infection. Antibiotics assist in removing the infection from your system. Infection can spread to your jaw, eye, bloodstream, and brain without repeat root canal treatment. As your tooth breaks down, it may become unsavable, requiring removal and a dental implant.
Please do not allow dental anxiety to prevent you from getting repeat root canal therapy. A repeat root canal with dental sedation is less time-consuming and healthier than allowing a tooth infection to linger. Without treatment, your oral and overall health will worsen, resulting in more dental appointments and possible medical concerns.
Sugar Land implant and cosmetic dentist Dr. Siny Thomas sponsors this post.