A root canal may sound alarming, but it isn’t the end of the world. It’s a great solution that allows you to save your tooth rather than requiring an implant or bridge, which can be more costly. When bacteria take over the pulp (the inside) of your tooth, it can become painful. This often happens when a cavity is left untreated for a long period of time. You may also need one if you crack your tooth or have an impact-related injury. When you get a root canal, you’re simply having the inside of your tooth cleaned and then filled to prevent further bacteria from entering.

root canal treatment

Getting a root canal is a procedure with a very high success rate. However, in rare cases an infection can happen even years after your root canal treatment. Common causes are new cavities, delayed crown placement, or narrow canals that could not be thoroughly cleaned. If you experience any symptoms of a root canal infection, it’s essential to book a trip to the dentist asap.

Symptoms of Infection

A bit of pain or discomfort after a root canal isn’t worth worrying about. This can last up to a week while your mouth is a bit more tender after the procedure. However, if you’re feeling pain after your initial recovery week, you should book a follow-up appointment to determine if you have a root canal infection. These are the symptoms to look out for, even in years to come, with the possibility of a re-infection.

Tooth pain

You shouldn’t experience pain every time you eat. That’s your first red flag! Any discomfort, even mild, is worth mentioning to your dentist. This also applies if you’ve noticed your tooth is affected by exposure to hot or cold temperatures. You could feel anything from a sharp pain to a dull, lingering ache that won’t go away. No matter how intense or infrequent, this is important to pay attention to if you’ve had a root canal.

Bad breath

Morning breath or onion breath is one thing. Consistent bad breath, even when you’re on top of your hygiene routine, is a symptom of an infection. On top of the bad breath, this can also manifest in a bad taste in your mouth, especially around the area of the tooth. If you’ve noticed this problem for an extended period of time, you should book an appointment to investigate the cause.

Pimples, pus, or abscess

We hope you aren’t eating your lunch while reading this! Another symptom of a root canal infection is pus coming out from around the tooth. This can look like a small pimple or bump in your mouth that can be sensitive to the touch. You may also notice pus leaking from the root canal that can range from yellow, green, or brown in colour. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, they will not go away on their own. Contact your dentist to get it looked at right away.


After root canal treatment, it is normal if your gums in the area are more sensitive temporarily. However, if you’ve noticed the swelling has lasted for an extended period of time or there are any pimples on the gums, this is a symptom of a root canal infection.

How to Prevent a Root Canal Infection

A root canal infection doesn’t always occur immediately after the procedure. Reinfection is possible if there is further damage or decay. To be proactive, you’ll want to take care of your teeth by doing the following:

  • Brushing at least twice a day, ideally after every meal.
  • Flossing once or twice a day.
  • Have the permanent restoration after your root canal done within 3 weeks to seal the area from bacteria.
  • Crown the root canaled tooth, if recommended.
  • Get regular dental cleanings.
  • Booking an appointment if you begin to notice any symptoms of a root canal infection.

A root canal procedure is nothing to be afraid of. There is minimal discomfort and it has a high success rate for most patients.

It is recommended that you see your dentist twice a year for cleanings and exams to monitor for infections and maintain a healthy mouth. At Eau Claire Park Dental, we put comfort and confidence at the centre of every root canal treatment plan. Contact us for your next cleaning or if you’ve been experiencing tooth pain.

Have you ever received a root canal procedure? What was the healing process like? Share your experience with our readers in the comments below.