Theriot Family Dental

Can a Root Canal Infect a Salivary Gland?

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My daughter has had two salivary glands which they cannot find a cause for. One of the things I am wondering about is whether or not a tooth that had a root canal treatment could be the cause. That tooth is near the salivary gland that keeps getting infected. Is it possible that the tooth is leaking and infecting her gland?


Dear Marilyn,

woman holding her jaw in pain

If a tooth is infected, it can spread to any part of the body. This is one of the reasons dentists often consider an infected tooth a dental emergency. Your jaw is close to your heart, lungs, and brain. You definitely do not want it to reach those places.

That being said, the tooth would have to be infected for an infection to spread. A root canal treatment is supposed to remove any infected pulp. There is a chance there is a root canal failure. The easiest way to figure that out is to have an x-ray done to determine whether or not that tooth is infected. If there is an infection, then it is possible that has been a contributor to her salivary gland infections.

In that case, you would also either need to try a root canal re-treatment or extract and replace the tooth. If your daughter is older and her jaw is fully developed, I would recommend replacing her tooth with a dental implant. If she is still a minor, I would get an inexpensive tooth replacement, such as a dental flipper until she is ready for an implant.

If the tooth is not infected, then it has no contribution to your daughter’s salivary gland infections and I would look elsewhere.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John Theriot.