Understanding Why You Need Antibiotics After A Root Canal

If you have a root canal procedure scheduled, then you should be prepared to take some medication after the treatment is over. While pain medication is often needed, you will also be asked to take antibiotics in most cases. Since root canals are meant to resolve dental infections, it may be surprising that you need to take antibiotics. If you want to understand why this is necessary, then keep reading.

Bacteria May Spread

Dental professionals are extremely careful when it comes to completing root canal treatments. The procedures are meant to remove tooth pulp, capillaries, pus, and bacteria without allowing any debris or microorganisms to get into the mouth. To help prevent the spread of bacteria, your dentist will place a rubber dental dam around your tooth. The dam will hold residue that comes out of the tooth so it can be suctioned and cleaned away before it gets into your mouth. 

While the dental dam prevents the spread of most microorganisms, bacteria are extremely small. Some of the microorganisms are one-half of a micrometer or smaller. A micrometer is one-thousandth of a millimeter. The bacteria can easily slip underneath the lip of the dental dam or infect the mouth due to a misplaced gloved hand. 

Bacteria can infect the soft tissues if they get into the mouth, so it is wise to take antibiotics just in case they do. Otherwise, further treatment way be necessary.

Dental Roots May Not Be Cleaned Thoroughly

Dentists will use some aggressive methods to clean out the pulp chamber, but they will be a bit more cautious when it comes to clearing out the tooth roots. The dental roots are extremely narrow and small and can collect a great deal of debris and bacteria. While dental files can be used that are small enough to clear out this debris, too much pressure during the cleaning process can damage the dental roots. Tooth roots can actually snap off or crack.

If a tooth root is broken, the size and location of the crack or break will need to be used to determine whether or not the tooth needs to be pulled. Instead of risking the possible need for an extraction, gentle cleaning methods are used instead. Your dentist will then prescribe antibiotics to help kill any bacteria that remain.

In rare cases, hearty bacteria can thrive in the dental roots. If you feel any prolonged pain sensations, then make sure to speak to your dentist as soon as possible. Stronger medications may be needed or you may need to take oral antibiotics for a longer period of time.