What Happens If Root Canal Infection Spreads?

Poor oral hygiene, trauma, or injury can cause root canal infection. It happens when harmful bacteria reach the dental pulp – the soft tissue inside the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels.  

While root canal infection is painful, your dentist can easily remove the infected dental pulp via root canal treatment. However, if you don’t get treatment in time or neglect the warning symptoms, the infection can spread to other body parts and become life-threatening. 

In this article, you’ll learn about root canal infection and what happens when the root canal infection spreads to your body. 

How Do Root Canal Infections Occur? 

Teeth are three layers, namely enamel, dentin, and dental pulp. Enamel is the white, outermost layer of the teeth, the hardest substance in your body. Below the enamel, there is a porous, sponge-like tissue called dentin. The dental pulp contains nerves and blood vessels in the innermost soft tissue. 

When bacteria enter the tooth through a crack or cavity and reach the dental pulp, they can damage and infect it, which causes extreme pain. To save this kind of badly infected tooth, your dentist will recommend a root canal treatment. 

The dentist cleans out the decay in this treatment and seals the treated tooth with a dental crown. Tooth extraction is the only alternative to root canal treatment. 

Symptoms of Root Canal Infection 

If you’re encountering any of the following signs, you may have a root canal infection:

  • Sudden yellowish brown or greyish discolouration of tooth. 
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Sharp, stabbing pain in the tooth, especially when biting down. 
  • Bad breath.  

Visit your dentist as soon as you notice these symptoms. Your dentist will examine the infected tooth and recommend treatment according to the severity of the infection. 

Tooth Infection Spreading to Body 

Tooth infection spreading to other parts of the body is rare, but it has severe consequences when it happens. If the tooth infection spreads, it may lead to the following:  

  • Cellulitis – A bacterial skin infection that causes swelling, redness, and even pain. 
  • Osteomyelitis – Inflammation of the bone surrounding the infected tooth. 
  • Parapharyngeal Abscess – A deep neck infection or infection at the back of the mouth. 
  • Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis – A blood clot and condition of the sinuses’ blood vessels 

Here are some symptoms and signs of a tooth infection spreading to the body:

  • High fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Persistent headache
  • Dehydration 
  • Swelling in the cheeks or the whole face
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Fast heart rate
  • Double vision, or loss of vision
  • Pain in the mouth
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Itchy or burning skin 
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Darker urine

Seeking treatment for root canal infection right away is necessary to reduce the risk of the disease spreading to the body. However, if you notice the above symptoms of tooth infection applying to your body, it’s essential to seek medical care ASAP!


  1. Dental abscess drainage: Your doctor will drain the pus directly from the site of infection.
  2. Antibiotics: Your doctor will also recommend antibiotics to resolve bacterial infections.
  3. Apicoectomy: Your doctor will carry out root-end resection.
  4. Sepsis Treatment: Root infection spreading to other body parts may cause sepsis. You’ll be admitted to the hospital and receive antibiotics through an IV when that happens.

When the root canal infection spreads to your other body parts, your doctor will recommend the following treatment: 

Root Canal Treatment in Pennant Hills, NSW, Australia

At Hills Dental Design, we offer a wide range of quality dental services and treatments, including emergency dental services and root canal treatment in Pennant Hills, NSW, Australia. If you notice any early symptoms of a root canal infection, contact our dental office right away and schedule your appointment to prevent the risk of tooth canal infection from spreading to your body. 

Disclaimer: The content provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. Any reliance you place on the information provided in these blogs is, therefore, strictly at your own risk. We shall not be held responsible for any loss or damage resulting from the use of the information provided on this website.

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