Combined Root Canal & Gum Problems

Tooth pain.When you experience pain in your mouth, it's sometimes abundantly clear which tooth is causing it. At other times, the sensation of discomfort is more diffuse, generalized or hard to pinpoint. On occasion, it can even be challenging to determine exactly what problem or combination of problems is causing the symptoms you're experiencing. This may be the case when an infection exists in the root canals of a tooth as well as the gum tissue adjacent to it.

In this situation, the infection may have begun in the pulp of the tooth itself; or, it may have started in the gums. Over time, it has spread from one location to the other — and now it's causing a confusing set of symptoms that are difficult to sort out. Regardless of where the problem started, a thorough analysis will be necessary before treatment can begin, to give you the best chance of saving the tooth.

Confusing Symptoms

Root canal infection leading to gum disease.

From time to time, many people experience oral discomfort that's dull or intermittent. Occasionally, a more insistent pain may be triggered by a stimulus like temperature (from hot or cold foods or beverages) or pressure (from biting down on something). Sometimes, it may feel as though the ache is coming from a group of teeth rather than one single tooth — or even from the sinus area above the back teeth.

These symptoms can indicate a number of dental issues, including root canal and gum problems, and shouldn't be disregarded. However, if you manage to ignore the acute pain, in many cases it will fade in time. But this isn't good news: It generally means that the infected tissue in the pulp of your tooth has died, and the nerve is no longer functioning. That's when the problem may become more serious.

Chicken or Egg?

Gum disease leading to root canal infection.

When the pulp tissue inside your tooth becomes severely infected, it's possible for the disease to move through openings at the end (apex) of the root, and outside of the tooth. It can then spread to the periodontal ligament, which anchors the tooth to the surrounding bone and gum tissue. From there, the infection may extend to the gum tissue and cause periodontal disease, or even result in a painful gum abscess. At that point, you may have pain — even severe pain that will let you know exactly which tooth is affected.

But it's also possible for the infection to be spread by the exact opposite pathway. In this case, an infection that originated in the gums (commonly due to periodontal disease caused by a buildup of plaque) may have has traveled through small passageways called accessory canals, which are located in between a tooth's roots, or on the sides of the roots. The infection can then extend into the tooth's pulp. If your teeth are fractured, it's even easier for disease to spread.

Treatment Methods

When dental problems involves both root canals and gum disease, saving the affected tooth can prove challenging. This is when it matters where the infection started: If it's primarily a root-canal problem that later moved into the gums, the outlook for the tooth is reasonably positive if it receives immediate treatment. If gum disease came first, however, the prospects often aren't as good; by the time the infection has moved into the tooth, it's possible that much bone has already been lost, making the tooth's long-term prognosis poor.

In either case, the cause of the tooth pain will need to be diagnosed and an effective treatment plan developed. The sooner that happens, the better: Root canal and gum problems simply don't get better on their own.

Related Articles

Confusing Tooth Pain - Dear Doctor Magazine

Confusing Tooth Pain It is occasionally difficult to pinpoint the origin of tooth pain, which can result from an infection of the tooth itself, or of the gum, or even spread from one to the other. Nevertheless, it's always important to sort out what's going on so that the right treatment can be selected and the tooth saved... Read Article

Our Location

Find us on the map

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "As weird as it sounds, I truly enjoy my time here and love that I always leave having learned something new! Dr. Moody and his wife, Jill, are some of the most genuine people I have ever met. They truly care about their patient’s well being. You can’t help but feel at home and most importantly, at ease when you’re in his chair. I am beyond thankful to have found Anchor Dental and look forward to the years ahead."
    Paige S.
  • "Love love love Anchor Dental!! Dr Moody and his team are the best I’m so happy to have found them!! They helped me out so much with my teeth and educated me on preventative techniques to help with my Recessive gum line and loss of bone. They are always super nice and treat you like family. It took me along time to find a good dentist that I can trust since moving to Anchorage and now that I found Anchor Dental I’m very happy.

    I’m appreciate all they do for me and I would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone looking for a dentist who will go above and beyond!!"
    Falon S.
  • "Dr. Moody and his team are the best that I ever been too. Today on February 17, 2021, my kiddos and I have an appointment ."
    Joyce K.
  • "I had a great experience!"
    Chad N.
  • "As always, my visit to Anchor Dental was great. I was there for a cleaning and I was very happy with my result."
    Irene W.
  • "Today was my first dental appointment since Covid and I was reassured and pleased with the mitigation measures taken by Anchor Dental. The teeth cleaning was as usual excellent. Everyone is friendly and professional. I actually look forward to going to the dentist's office!"
    Carol J.
  • "I love this place! They treat you like people. 😀"
    KetoG.
  • "Everyone is wonderful, never felt so comfortable at the dentist. Thank you!"
    C O
  • "Friendly and made to feel comfortable and welcome!"
    Aaron J.
  • "Dr. Moody and his staff are the best. The positive and comfortable environment is very welcoming and makes you feel like family. I wish there were 10 plus stars because they deserve it."
    Aileen T.
  • "Fantastic staff with the utmost care and consideration for their patients. Dr. Moody and his team make the whole experience painless with their skilled and compassionate care."
    Chelle W.
  • "Anchor Dental is fantastic. Atmosphere was awesome the husband & wife team was impressive. ,& their love, life story restored my faith in humanity."
    Tagaloa F.
  • "This dental office is fantastic! The hygenist was amazing and took her time cleaning my teeth really well. I have some sensitivity so they provided me with the comfort of some numbing gel. I was very comfortable and happy with my appointment. Dr. Moody is an excellent dentist. He bonded with my fiance while he was waiting for me and seems they had a good chat! All staff was amazing!"
    Holly M.
  • "Dr. Moody was awesome, and made sure that I wouldn't be in any pain. He and his assistant were singing along to the songs playing and were silly enough to take some of the anxiety of having some extractions done away. I'd certainly recommend him."
    Jonathan B.
  • "Great people! Professional and very caring!"
    Pattie M.
  • "The staff at Anchor Dental is amazing! They are so friendly and professional, even my children enjoy going to the dentist!!"
    Lynne F.
  • "As always I was very pleased with my visit to Anchor Dental. The staff is really nice, efficient and professional. They really know what they are doing. Everything is explained to you and Dr. Moody is great."
    Caren A.
  • "Dr. Moody has been my dentist for the past few years. He has helped me eat better through molding and ordering partials. Also, he has a caring staff that really listens to my concerns. I will always recommend friends, family and colleagues to him for the best dental care. Just got a temporary crown, and almost no pain!"
    David S.
  • "I am very pleased with my experience here because I did not see a dentist for years and they made it very pain free and comfortable. The personable and outgoing happy people made it even better."
    Nina J.
  • "5 stars all around. I am glad I found this place and will definitely be recommending this to friends and family."
    Tabitha P.
  • "I was pretty nervous about getting my wisdom teeth pulled but Dr. Moody made it a blast and fly by. They take my insurance too so I will be coming back for my regular teeth cleanings! :D"
    Joshua A.
  • "Friendly, professional staff that welcomes you from the moment you walk through the door. Everyone has a different outlook for their dental care, the folks at Anchor Dental are incredibly accommodating."
    Bryan B.
  • "Walking in you are greeted with a smile. The office staff is more than helpful when needed. Dr Moody has eased my nerves and I now feel comfortable when I need work done. Everyone is very friendly."
    Stephanie N.
  • "I really enjoyed my dental experience here. The dentist and employees were fun, professional, and very caring. I will definitely refer friends and family."
    Kelly S.
  • "Dr. Moody is the best and most genuine dentist professional I have ever been too. I will say that even after I move out of state, I will fly back just for my dental care."
    Donald J.
  • "I wasn't able to get in for the cleaning I was scheduled for but was able to still have an exam & X-rays. Dr. Moody talked with me extensively about my teeth, dental health, & future care. He answered all the questions I had & I never felt rushed. I would highly recommend Dr. Moody & his staff at Anchor Dental."
    Marion J.
  • "I walked into this dental office and immediately felt warm and cozy. They have an amazing and caring staff that will go out of their way to assist you any way that they can."
    Katylyn L.
  • "It was scary at first but it was awesome. Great service, funny and friendly people. They did it with tender, love and care and you’re all appreciated for an awesome job."
    Sia Faasavalu
  • "Excellent service and the people are very thorough with everything. I love working with people with integrity."
    - Gloria Prince