3 Medical Conditions That Require Extra Precautions When Getting Root Canals

8 May 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

Needing to get a root canal done is something that nobody enjoys. For some people, getting a root canal brings on additional fears and health concerns. The National Institutes of Health discredited a myth which suggested that root canals caused problems for those who live with cardiovascular disease.

However, there are several other medical conditions that can lead to problems when getting a root canal. Fortunately, dentists can take certain precautions to limit health risks. Here's what you need to know.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that causes extreme excruciating pain in the jaw and face. It's been called the suicide disease due to the intense pain levels associated with the condition. The nerves in the branches of the fifth cranium nerve are thought to be compressed, which brings on sudden pain with triggers such as a small gust of wind or a light touch to the check occur. Talking, chewing and brushing teeth can also cause the pain.

With the ends of the nerves being in the jaw and cheek, it can make getting any kind of dental work challenging, to say the least. Many patients with trigeminal neuralgia try to avoid dental work as much as possible. However, when it comes to needing a root canal, dental work cannot be avoided.

If you have trigeminal neuralgia, it is important to tell your dentist about your condition. He or she will need to take extra precautions for your dental care. Preemptive anesthesia is highly recommended to help ward off the pain. You may need to increase your regular medication for trigeminal neuralgia and take additional pain medication to help, but you'll need to speak with your neurosurgeon or physician before you do.


People who have epilepsy have seizures that can make them lose complete control of their bodies. During a seizure, an epileptic can damage his or her teeth due to the uncontrollable movements. To make matters worse, some anti-seizure medication can cause problems with oral health and make dental procedures complicated.

Some oral health problems that can be concerning for those needing root canals include an increased risk of infection, delayed healing and postoperative bleeding. Also, given that a seizure can occur at any time, anyone with a seizure disorder such as epilepsy should inform their dentist on what to do if they have a seizure while receiving dental treatment. This is especially true for dental procedures that involve cutting into the gums such as when having root canals.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is a condition that causes the red blood cells to be shaped like a crescent. This causes the red blood cells to break apart and clump together, which results in anemia, severe pain and damage to vital organs during a sickle cell crisis. Dehydration and infection are common triggers that can send someone into a sickle cell crisis.

Due to infection being one of the common triggers, it is important to get a root canal as soon as possible. However, since the red blood cells do not clot properly, excessive bleeding can become an issue during a root canal. If you have sickle cell anemia and need a root canal, speak with your dentist and your physician to get a prescription for the necessary medication to prevent further complications with infection and excessive bleeding.

A root canal is a dental procedure that is necessary when the pulp in a tooth is infected and needs to be removed. This procedure can be complicated for anyone to deal with, but more difficult for people who have trigeminal neuralgia, epilepsy or sickle cell anemia. If you have one of these conditions, tell your dentist about your medical history and the medications you take on a regular basis before undergoing any dental treatment.