Are you asking yourself “Why Does My Tooth Still Hurt After a Root Canal”? If so, I am sorry to hear you’re having this problem! This does happen and there are many reasons why your tooth could hurt after a root canal.
If you just had the root canal finished or it is in process, it’s likely that the tissue at the base of the tooth root (periapical is the official term) is slightly tender. It can be exquisitely sensitive. Another common cause of this type of pain is a temporary filling that’s a wee bit too high. Call your dentist. Be prepared to answer these questions about the nature of the pain:
1) Is it sensitive to hot and cold?
2) Is it sensitive in the gum area over the tooth root?
3) Does it ache all the time?
4) Does it only hurt when biting?
5) Is there any swelling, drainage (pus) or a pimple over the tooth (abscess)?
Each one of these answers can be from a different cause.
As much as we’d like to say that a root canal is a black and white procedure, it’s not. Your teeth, just like the rest of your body are natural structures full of branches, inclusions and twists. In fact, the root of a tooth bears an incredible resemblance to a tree trunk; I’m implying that it’s tough to do Mother Nature one better just because we have dental degrees and incredible technology.
First Steps in Dealing With Post Root Canal Pain
I hope that you filled the prescriptions that the doctor handed you – use them. If you didn’t, as a first line of defense, take a couple of ibuprofen tablets (200mg) and see if that helps.
You can also check out this article on some home remedies for root canal pain: Root Canal Home Remedies. These home remedies are ok in a pinch, but you really need to see your dentist – after all, you’re dealing with a significant infection here.
What’s next in dealing with Post Root Canal Pain
Root canals don’t always work out as we hope. Depending on the diagnosis and severity, there are several steps that could occur.
1) Did you follow your dentist’s recommendation and have the tooth sealed or capped right away?
– Darn, I hope you did, because every year we see a number of failures caused by mouth bacteria infiltrating the unsealed root canal. the longer you wait to do this, the more likely it will happen and the more likely that the weak tooth will crack. Honestly, we are on your side – we dentists want you to be free of pain and happy with our treatment. We hate giving you any more bad news on top of the dental treatment and the bill!
2) Sometimes a crown will cure the pain
– If the root is cracked, a crown will likely cover the crack and keep it from spreading apart too much when chewing. Likely, the crack could not be seen during your treatment. in fact, I have a lower molar with this exact issue and I am a dentist!
3) The root canal may need to be re-done.
– Again, in my own case, this worked. My dentist did not see any issues with the root canal that she had done the year before and for whatever reason, this re-do cured the problem. My endodontist is a great doctor and a great friend and this goes to show you that these problems happen to all of us.
4) Your Doctor may recommend surgery
– This is not as horrible as it sounds. Sometimes it’s possible to access the root of the tooth through the side of the jaw and take care of the infection directly (rather than through the tooth like we normally do). This also allows the doctor to see exactly what is going on and give you a better idea of the prognosis of the tooth.
5) A chronic issue may mean that it’s time to plan on having the tooth out.
– As my dad (a dentist who was experiencing long-standing pain after a root canal) wisely said, “Sometimes you have to forget about the tooth and treat the patient.”