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Oral Surgery/drainage from tooth that has had root canal


I had a root canal at age 8 on the left,upper front tooth. This was from an injury after a car accident. A cap and crown was placed on the tooth at age 13. Developed a fistula above tooth at age 41. Went to an periodontist and an apicoectomy was done. No problems until age 50. My regular dentist saw some drainage at my regular check up, and referred me back to the endodontist. I have no pain, or swelling. No symptoms. I was told that I do have drainage, and some infection, but there is no urgency to do anything at this time. Antibiotics won't help, and that it has probably been draining for the last nine years- since the apicoectomy. I have read that infection, can spread to other teath, and cause many other health problems, including heart problems. He said that the next step is extraction, but there is no reason to do this now. I am just worried that this drainage will cause other problems.
This was hard to explain. Hope this does make some sense. Can this drainage be harmful, if nothing is done to correct this?

Jo - You are quite smart to be apprehensive about leaving an infected tooth in place.  Sure some of the infection is draining, but the bacteria in the bone is also eating away at it.  It can eventually cause damage to the adjoining teeth.  So have that tooth extracted soon.  To replace tooth, let the area heal for a few months if you want an implant to replace the tooth.  If you want a bridge, the teeth on either side of the space will need to be cut down to support a bridge.  Ideally the implant would be best, but it will take a little time since any residual infection in the bone needs to be completely gone before an implant is placed.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me again.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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