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Dentistry/Nasal cavity punctured during root canal


I recently got a root canal procedure done on my top #3 molar. After the procedure, before they placed the crown, I had this horrible smell in my right nostril and nasty taste in my mouth. I had a green discharge and it was a sign of some type of infection. I told my dentist and he said he punctured into my nasal passage and prescribed me an antibiotic and said it should heal. But I fear there is more damage being done than he is seeing. Is this something I should be concerned about? Do I need to get the root canal tooth pulled? And do you have an idea of what's going on with me?
Thank you

Hi Chelsea,

I'm sorry you are having this all go on. Sometimes, especially if the tooth is actively abscessing, problems like this can develop. The roots of 1st molars, like #3, can actually be inside your sinus. When doing the root canal, some of the infected material can be pushed into your sinus and cause a sinus infection. Like your dentist did, the normal treatment is antibiotics. In most cases, that's all that is necessary for treatment. In a very small number of cases, further treatment may be needed. That could range from extraction to surgery on the end of the root, but we just don't see that very often. Antibiotics usually do just fine.

The real issue here is how well you will heal. If the discharge and bad taste go away, then I would certainly not consider any further treatment. These things do happen and normally heal just fine. I would keep an eye on your symptoms and keep your dentist in the loop. If it would make you feel better, you might even get a 2nd opinion from an endodontist, because obviously I can't examine you or see your x-rays.

I hope this helps. Please write back if you need further clarification.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD  


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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD


I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.


25 years practicing as a specialist

American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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