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Root Canals




Do you need to have an infection gone before the root canal is done? Can you take an antibiotic to get rid of the infection after your root canal?


The root canal is done to rid the tooth of the infection. You can not eliminate the infection without doing the root canal or having the tooth extracted.

If you are concerned about having a root canal done while swelling or pain is present, that is perfectly normal and common.

Antibiotics do not penetrate into your tooth and eliminate any remaining infection. Antibiotics are only necessary when significant swelling or fever (systemic signs) are involved. This can be related to certain types of root canal infections and would be given as necessary.

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Response by:

Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS
Assistant Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University