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Posts for tag: pain

Is Your Tooth Still Painful After A Root Canal?

root canal pain

Recent a patient complained to me that she had seen a root canal specialist for toothache and needed a root canal.  She said that the root canal was performed with no problems but now her tooth was still sore and tender.  Her question was this, how is my tooth still hurting when the nerve has been removed?  She had a level of frustration in her voice that was understandable.

I did my best to explain that yes, the nerve from inside her tooth had been cleaned out and removed but there are nerve ending in the ligament that surrounds her tooth.  When there is inflammation and swelling caused by a sick tooth, this ligament can also be swollen and sick.  It takes some time for that swelling to reduce and the tissue be normal again after the root canal is completed.  That is likely the cause of her pain and after several days it should feel much better.root canal pain

There are other possible causes of pain.  When a root canal is done you want to clean out the tissue all the way  to the end of the tooth but not past it.  It is possible that during the cleaning process and instrument called a file went beyond the end of the root.  This damages the tissue there which will take a bit of time to heal and be sore until it does.  It is also possible that a material called a sealer, which is used to seal off the inside of tooth was pushed out of the end of the tooth.  This can aggravate the tissue there also causing tenderness.

Another cause of pain after a root canal is what I like to call the "Princess and the Pea" syndrome.  That is where after a root canal is done the filling put into the tooth is a little too tall.  This causes you to hit first and heavy on that tooth making a tooth sore that normally would not be.  Even the smallest amount of a high tooth will get sore and stay sore until the highness is reduced.  Like the lady on the matress who could feel the small pea, a person with a high tooth can definately feel it, even if it is only slightly tall.  Adjust that tooth and the soreness will go away.

There is another very  uncommon cause of pain after a root canal.  It is referred to as "phantom pain".  This is where the nerve that leads to the tooth is sensitive and it acts like it is still attached to the tooth nerve even though the nerve has been removed.  The nerve will feel and act like the tooth is still sick even when it is not.  This is very frustrating to the dentist and patient alike when it occurs.  Fortunately this is very rare.

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