4 Medical Conditions That Can Complicate A Root Canal

Posted on: 28 October 2014


Root canal procedures are generally well-tolerated by most patients; however, if you have certain medical conditions, you may be at greater risk for developing complications. If you have an infected nerve in one of your teeth, or if the tooth pulp is damaged, your dentist may recommend a root canal in an attempt to save the tooth from extraction. Here are four medical conditions that can raise your risk of complications during and after a root canal.


Anemia can lead to a decreased platelet count and a low red blood cell count, both of which can cause abnormal bleeding. If you are anemic, you may experience abnormal bleeding during your root canal, so it is important that you alert your dentist to your condition prior to treatment.

When your dentist is aware of your anemia, he or she may elect to take additional precautions during your root canal procedure to help discourage oral hemorrhaging or to stop it once it has started. You may also experience post-procedure bleeding if you are anemic. To reduce your risk for excessive oral blood loss, avoid taking aspirin after your root canal and apply pressure to the affected area with a piece of sterile gauze at the first sign of bleeding.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a degenerative disease that not only causes pain and inflammation of your joints, including those of your jaw, but can also cause a systemic inflammatory response. This response can lead to an increase in pain after your root canal, and may also delay healing.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, make sure that you take the medications your physician prescribed, as well as those given to you by your dentist after your procedure. Because rheumatoid arthritis can affect your immune system, you may also be at an elevated risk for developing a post-procedure infection. If your dentist prescribes antibiotics following your root canal, be sure to complete the entire course.


Diabetes can also lead to delayed healing after a root canal or tooth extraction. While diabetic-related complications are most common in people whose diabetes is poorly managed, they can also develop in those whose blood sugar levels are well under control. 

Diabetics are prone to oral yeast infections, as fungi thrive in areas of the body that have high concentrations of sugar. If you have a fungal infection in your mouth at the time of your root canal, the surgical site may be prone to infection.

Your dentist can prescribe an anti-fungal oral rinse before or after your root canal to help eliminate the yeast microorganism, or you may be given an oral anti-fungal medication to get rid of your yeast infection.

Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects women. In addition to causing dry eyes, this condition also causes dry mouth. Your mouth relies on adequate saliva flow to help wash away bacteria, and when Sjogren's inhibits the flow of saliva, bacteria can build up in your oral cavity, raising the risk for infection and poor wound healing after your root canal. If you have this disease, your dentist or physician can recommend a mouthwash to help keep your mouth moisturized so that your root canal site heals properly.

If you have any of the above conditions, tell your dentist prior to your root canal surgery. If, after your procedure, you experience oral pain, heavy bleeding or bleeding that is difficult to control, fever, body aches or a feeling of general malaise, call your dentist. You may have a bacterial infection stemming from your root canal site and may need to take antibiotics. Visit webistes like http://www.cretzmeyer.com for more information.