Tooth Infection – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Tooth root inflammation

tooth root inflammation or root inflammation or tooth root inflammation is a painful matter. Anyone who has ever had a root infection and had to have it treated by a dentist knows this .

What is tooth root inflammation?

Strictly speaking, a tooth root infection is an inflammation of the tip of the tooth root Bacteria penetrate the root tip via a decayed tooth and trigger root inflammation.

The inflammation usually begins with progressive caries , which spreads to the dentin and penetrates from there into the root of the tooth.


The main cause of a tooth root infection is caries on a tooth. Each tooth has a hard layer surrounding it and the soft pulp. The process begins insidiously with a small area of ​​caries and, if left untreated, destroys larger and larger parts of the tooth. Periodontitis can also promote tooth root inflammation.

If tooth decay is left untreated for a long time, it spreads to the dentin and from there spreads to the root of the tooth. It comes to painful root inflammation.

But damage to the jaw or a traumatic blow to a tooth can also lead to root inflammation for a long time afterwards. Crooked wisdom teeth can irritate the root area of ​​other teeth. Sometimes infections can promote root inflammation.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

In most cases, acute tooth root inflammation becomes noticeable through sudden, pulsating toothache , which can be aggravated by hot or cold drinks or food. Cold air on the affected tooth is often not tolerated either. Biting on the inflamed tooth usually causes a lot of pain.

Sometimes the irritation is temporary and the pain goes away on its own, but usually the nerve dies due to tooth root inflammation and causes a chronic focus of inflammation. Even with untreated inflammation, pain can subside once the nerve has died, but it’s a treacherous pathology.

When the pulp of the tooth dies, bacteria can reach the tip of the root via the pulp and spread from there to the jawbone. The root inflammation then no longer causes pain, but a number of secondary diseases such as the formation of an abscess , a radicular cyst or an inflammation of the bone marrow .

Most often, a radicular cyst develops first, which encapsulates at the root tip but grows larger and progressively extends into the bone tissue. It can be seen on x-rays. The problem is that this process can take place without pain, but it is essential to treat it so that the tooth root inflammation does not spread in the jaw.

Diagnosis & History

tooth root infection is usually associated with severe toothache. If the root inflammation persists, the tooth becomes sensitive to pressure and does not tolerate touching.

A strong throbbing inside the tooth can also be felt. As the inflammation of the roots progresses, a strong permanent pain develops. By then, at the latest, a visit to the dentist is essential. Sometimes the pain goes away, but that’s not necessarily a good sign. The root infection may have caused the tooth to die.

If the root infection continues to go untreated, the infection can spread to the jaw and soft tissues over time. The inflamed area swells and “fat cheek” occurs. Root inflammation can also progress and spread to the head , causing headaches there .

In the case of a root infection, it is important that it is treated as soon as possible, otherwise there is a risk that it will spread to other teeth. If tooth root inflammation remains untreated, it can cause serious damage to the organism, from a permanent weakening of the immune system to heart muscle inflammation . The dentist can only diagnose root inflammation via an X-ray .


Untreated tooth root inflammation can lead to various complications and significantly impair the health of the affected patient in the long term. However, it can also happen that the pain suddenly decreases or stops completely, so that dental treatment is often no longer sought. However, when the pain subsides, no all-clear can be given because in these cases the dental nerve has already died.

The focus of inflammation and pus remains and even expands. It comes to root tip inflammation, which also reaches the adjacent jawbone. The affected tooth must be removed in order to stop the inflammatory processes. If no or only insufficient treatment is carried out, the entire dental apparatus can ultimately be destroyed.

However, the original tooth root inflammation is often not limited to the tooth apparatus. Serious complications such as sepsis can also occur under certain circumstances due to a strong multiplication of the pathogens. In the case of potentially fatal sepsis (blood poisoning), massive amounts of bacteria are washed into the blood. These come from untreated pus foci.

Inadequate treatment of tooth root inflammation often leads to chronic inflammation in the tooth and jaw area. As a result, heart disease, rheumatic joint inflammation, nerve or kidney inflammation can develop, which reduce the quality of life and often even the life expectancy of those affected.

When should you go to the doctor?

If the affected person experiences impairments and disorders when eating, he should consult a doctor. A doctor’s examination is required for pain in the teeth, swelling in the mouth or irregularities in the throat. Many experience a sharp increase in symptoms within a short period of time. Pain in particular becomes very intense within a few hours. For this reason, a visit to the doctor is advisable as soon as the first perceptions or discrepancies arise. If hypersensitivity occurs when pressure is applied to the area of ​​the jaw and if there are disturbances in sensitivity to heat or cold, the observations should be discussed with a doctor.

Swelling or deformities in the facial area also indicate a health problem. If there is a purulent taste in the mouth, consult a doctor immediately. If the disease progresses unfavorably, it can lead to blood poisoning and thus to a potentially life-threatening condition. Reddening of the mouth and irregularities in speaking are further indications of a health problem. A doctor must be consulted so that a diagnosis can be made immediately and treatment can be initiated. If there are sudden changes when wearing braces or dentures, it is also necessary to consult the doctor treating you.

Treatment & Therapy

Once the tooth root inflammation has been diagnosed and precisely localized, the root canal treatment takes place in several stages . First, the tooth with the root infection is opened and the tissue affected by the root infection is removed.

This is followed by a thorough cleaning of the root canals to remove all bacteria. Most often, the dentist will insert an inlay of antibiotic or antibacterial medication into the tooth and seal it temporarily for the time being. Sometimes a root infection has to be cleaned a second time. It is advisable to observe the tooth with the root infection before it is permanently root-filled and sealed.

Once the root inflammation has subsided and no further symptoms have occurred, the tooth is sealed with a root filling (usually with gutta-percha). Sometimes pain can still occur a few days after the treatment, which can be relieved temporarily with painkillers .


Since tooth root inflammation is a secondary disease, preventing root inflammation begins with preventing tooth decay. The most important preventive measure is regular dental check-ups. It detects tooth decay at an early stage and can prevent it from progressing.

Even root inflammation can usually be recognized in the early stages. Since tooth decay is caused by bacteria, regular tooth cleaning is essential. Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day. The dentist can provide information about a suitable technique. It is advisable to use dental floss to clean the spaces between the teeth , because food residues that encourage putrefactive bacteria collect in narrow spaces. The toothbrush should be changed at least every two to three months.


As a rule, no special options for aftercare are necessary or possible in the case of tooth root inflammation. The disease itself must first and foremost be recognized and treated by a doctor at an early stage, so that there are no complications or other complaints and problems with the teeth as the disease progresses.

In some cases, the root itself does not need to be removed if root infection is caught early, so ideally the sufferer should see a doctor at the first symptoms and signs of this disease. Those affected are usually dependent on the removal of the root if the tooth root inflammation is already far advanced.

The tooth should not be loaded after the procedure. Normal food can be resumed just a few days after the operation. Further checks are necessary in some cases so that the inflammation cannot spread further. As a rule, tooth root inflammation does not reduce the life expectancy of the person concerned and does not lead to other complications.

You can do that yourself

Inflammation of a tooth root requires medical treatment. The possibilities of self-help can support the healing path, but are not sufficient for recovery.

To improve the general state of health, the consumption of harmful substances should be avoided. Caffeine or nicotine have a negative impact on the immune system. With a balanced, vitamin-rich and healthy diet , however, the immune system can be stabilized and mobilized. Adequate sleep, the reduction of physical and emotional stressorsand adequate exercise are also conducive to recovery. In order to avoid an increase in symptoms, food intake should be optimized. Acidic foods or hot drinks can increase sensitivity in the mouth and throat. The tooth cleaning should not be stopped despite the existing complaints. Until recovery, the teeth should continue to be freed from food residues as much as possible every day.

External cooling of the affected areas can alleviate the symptoms. Therefore, cooling pads wrapped in a cloth can be placed on the cheek or jaw at regular intervals. Speaking should be reduced to a minimum. The activity of the jaw should not be overused in the event of an inflammation. If pus gets into the pharynx, special care must be taken. As soon as a deterioration in health is noticed, a doctor must be consulted.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.