Unfinished root canal

Aug 18, 2020
Before the pandemic the filling on one of my front teeth cracked. I started to have sensation on drinking hot drinks. Took a while to get an appointment. When I went in the dentist refilled it but it was still painful. At follow up an x-ray showed a slight infection. I took an antibiotic prior to the dentist performing a required root canal. He put in a dressing and temporary filling initially. It remained painful and one week later, the day before dentistry was stopped he opened the root canal and advised me to rinse after eating. Thereafter no appointments were available, which is still the case at my dental practice. Sometimes the tooth feels a little painful, when something blocks it. I rinse with a salt, bicarb and drop of clove oil in warm water morning and night and use a waterpik with the same solution if necessary. This week on two occasions very small blood clots have come out. This seems to have stopped now. I am concerned, but not sure what to do. Will this root canal be able to be completed or will I need an extraction? Should I be concerned re infection and try to access a private dentist, perhaps? Opinions greatly appreciated.


Dr M

Verified Dentist
May 31, 2019
Good day,

If a root canal is left unfinished, there is a chance that it can get an infection, since it is hollow on the inside and there is space for bacteria to accumulate and multiply and then cause pain. The root canal might have to be cleaned out again before it can be completed. This is known as second phase treatment.
If left too long, there is also a risk that the remaining tooth structure can weaken and then lead to a fracture. If the fracture is severe, the tooth might need to be extracted.
My advice would be to get a follow-up appointment with a dentist or another dentist as soon as possible.

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