You are here:

Dentistry/Possible sinus problem


QUESTION: About 9 months ago I had a root canal treatment to on tooth#4 .
The Endodontist said it was pretty infected but was able to treat
2 of 3 canals/roots. He tried for three sessions to find the 3rd root but to no avail. He said it was very small and should not give me a problem. During the Second session I noticed my upper cheek was a little swollen on the same side as the Root Canal.

I didn't want to get a crown on due to the fact I still had some
cheek swelling and pain on and off. He did give me two rounds of
antibiotic (Penicillin) and extra X-rays but insisted he saw no swelling or infection.

Fast forward to the last two months and the swelling is still there and pain comes and goes. I got a second opinion from and oral/Malifax dentist who said I still have an untreated Root/Canal but saw no swelling.

Well yesterday I went to another Endo. and he took xrays and a CT like scan of my teeth. He saw no evidence of an abscess or failed
root canals which he said was great. But he did say that the Third
Root/canal that everyone says was untreated is actually just a canal with no root ??? Not sure if I understood him right but he did mention for the first time that i may be experiencing "Sinus" problems ?

Could this be true and if so should I go see an ENT or my regular Doctor.  I do have puffiness on my cheek , that sometimes I can feel under my eye, no drainage from the sinus but it sure feel like my tooth is hurting, no a lot but I do feel pain on and off.

Many thanks in advance

ANSWER: Hi Darrin,

I'm sorry you have all this going on. Obviously, you have seen the right dentists and done the right things to try to resolve this problem. It also sounds like the root canal itself has been pretty well checked out. At this point, I think that being examined for sinus problems would be a logical next step, however, it seems to me that the problems appears to be related to your root canal. Since I can't exam you, I pretty much need to go by what the last endodontist found and that CT scan is the latest thing for diagnosis. I think an ENT would be the best choice as you need to be certain of the diagnosis you are given.

If your sinuses check out OK, then I think the next step would be to surgically explore the area and put a filling in the end of the root canal that was not found. Your questioning the statement that there was a canal but no root is also right on because there is no was that can happen. Canals are INSIDE a root and can't exist without a root being present.

Hope this helps.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


And thank you for your complete and very logical response. It is interesting that when the last Endodontist just looked at the regular
X-Ray he said he was going to do exactly what you mentioned by surgically going to the root seen on the xray and fill it at the end, But when he read I was on blood thinners at that moment that was not an option and he
then did the CT Scan . This is when he said what he saw ( maybe he meant a
root without a Canal ??). In any event I am will see an ENT and see the out come. At least now I am comfortable to what direction I will go in.

Many thanks,

You are MORE than welcome Darrin. I hope things work out for you. Sometimes, your physician can work with your endodontist to adjust your blood thinning medication temporarily to allow the surgical approach. It really depends on how essential or dangerous it is to your overall health...a good discussion item for you and your physician.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.