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What condition was my dentist referring to when she said this?



Junior member
Jul 12, 2018
Last week I had a 6 month check up with my NHS dentist. Prior to that I'd had a root canal done on my right side molar (2nd down from canine). I've have been having short-duration, mild to moderate bouts of aching there pretty much since it settled down now. I've been dreading going back for fear of more bad news, so put it off until the check up. No other signs of problems, just a random, short "ache" that came and went, sometimes several times a day sometimes none. It wasn't that bad tbh. Sometimes it came with cold food/drink, sometimes on it's own.

I explained this to her and she took an X-Ray. She said that it wasn't clear on the x-ray but she THOUGHT a canal may have been missed, and said that the only way to tell was to "open it up and have a look" (she is a general NHS dentist, and a fairly new one at that I believe, she also seemed to be in a bad mood).

Another thing she mentioned, which is the title of the thread, was the presence of some sort of infection in the gum/bone in that area "that sometimes happens after a root canal". She said this last part several times, with an emphasis on it being fairly rare. A bit alarmed, I pressed her on this, as an infection in the bone is something I don't think is to be taken lightly.

At this point she clammed up, started to downplay it, and just seemed very vague. The inference was there was a "pocket" of infection outside of the tooth, the word "bone" was definitely mentioned. She prescribed me with 3 days of metronizadole, 400mg. At the end of the appointment I asked her for the name of the condition, which in fairness she did relay to me after some difficulty, but I was a tad anxious so I forgot before I had left the surgery. It involved the word "peri" though I'm sure.

Surely the jaw-bone is either infected or not? Anyways, I'm due back to see her Monday.

I am going to see a private Endodontist on Tuesday!
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Was it periodontitis? That is an infection of the gums. It can be treated with antibiotics, so although it isn't common, it isn't necessarily rare, just uncommon after a root canal.
It sounds like she gave you antibiotics. I am not familiar with the kind she gave you (I am not a dentist).
Thank you, yes that's jogging my memory a bit. So if that is what she diagnosed, it's gum disease. Strange as I do brush my teeth at least twice a day and use mouthwash.

Yes those are antibiotics!

You know, some days I envy people who have dentures lol, none of this constantly bad news.
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If you are not already doing this, rinse the area several times a day with salt water. That will help speed up the healing process.

I know what you mean about all the worries. I have a failed root canal, and need an apicoectomy, but can't get it yet, because I have an extra impactes wisdom tooth blocking the roots. So I am facing two surgeries and that might not even fix the problem. Ugh.

I hope the antibiotics work quickly for you. You can also add a few teaspoons of baking soda in the salt water rinse.
Periodontitis is gum disease, and it's odd that she said happens after a root canal. If it was an infection in the bone due to a missed canal, it sounds more like periapical periodontitis. From what I've read, it basically means that the xray probably shows some localized bone loss at the root tip of the root canaled tooth because the bacteria from the missed canal has started to leak out of the tooth and is eating away at the bone.

It should hopefully resolve itself when the source of infection has been removed and cleaned out. I'm not a dentist though, so please take what I say with a pinch of salt. You should bring this up to the endodontist that you are seeing and tell him/her what your dentist said about the missed canal.