3 Potential Treatments For A Painful Tooth Infection That's Inside The Canal And Roots

Proper oral healthcare helps eliminate harmful bacteria that can potentially cause infections and damage throughout your mouth. If you have a tooth that's cracked open due to trauma or a cavity, it is easy for the bacteria to get inside the tooth where you can't simply clean it away. The bacteria can then cause an infection that can inflame the pulp material inside your root canal and then spread through the canal, down into the roots, and out into the surrounding soft tissue.

What are some potential treatments for a painful tooth infection that's inside the root canal and roots? Here are a few options to discuss with your dentist.

Root Canal Therapy

The first treatment should involve removing the infection from the root canal so that the infectious material stops spreading. Your dentist can clear out the infection using root canal therapy.

Root canal therapy requires the dentist to scrape out the infected pulp and then cleanse the emptied canal with an antibiotic wash. If your tooth wasn't cracked open enough for the dentist to easily reach the canal, the dentist will need to drill an access hole to perform the scraping. Once the canal is scraped and sanitized, a dissolving biocement is inserted to keep the canal empty until the rest of the infection has time to heal up.


Root canal therapy can't always reach the infected material that has gotten deep down into the tooth roots all the way to the apexes, which are the bottom tips of the roots. If infectious material is trapped in the apexes, the dentist will need to perform an apicoectomy to prevent the infection from recurring even after the root canal.

An apicoectomy requires the dentist to access the root tips through your jawbone. The tips are cleaned, sterilized, and then packed with a similar biocement as used in the root canal to make sure no infected material travels in from the surrounding gum tissue. The gum tissue infection will be treated with a deep cleaning, antibiotics, or both.

Dental Crown

The treated tooth still has a hole in it from the crack and potentially from the dentist drilling the tooth open wider. The hole needs closing so that bacteria doesn't get right back inside to start the infection anew. Your dentist can close the tooth using a dental crown.

A dental crown is made of porcelain or metal-backed porcelain and cemented onto the exterior of the entire natural tooth. The crown closes the holes and provides an added layer of protection and stability for your damaged tooth.

To learn more, contact a dentist like Gary B. Wiest D.M.D.