White spot on gum where root canal treatment has been done

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Question:
I went to the dentist last week for a check-up and he said everything was fine and also took some X-rays to confirm this. However, since then I have had a dull ache in my jaw on the side where I have a root canal in a bottom molar and a filling in an upper molar. Last night when I went to brush my teeth there was a white spot on my gum where my root canal is. When I tried to look at it properly it burst and white pus came out but no blood. The spot has not come back today. I had the root canal done about three years ago and have never had any trouble with it. Is it likely there is an infection in what's left of this tooth or could it just be a gum infection?

Answer:

A pustule adjacent to a tooth which has had a previous root canal therapy is usually an indication that the root canal treatment has failed, causing a residual low-grade infection that can cause an abcess or cyst. Usually these drain to the surface of the gum. This may also be an indication that the tooth root has split beneath the gum line. X-rays used in dental check-ups are configured to pick up decay and don't usually show the entire root anatomy, so it is quite possible that any infection of this tooth may have been missed. Go back to your dentist and get them to check this tooth thoroughly, with a new X-ray of the entire root. They should find the problem straight away.


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