Root Canal – Should it still hurt?


Many people still experience pain after having a root canal treatment. There are a number of reasons that this may be occurring. After a root canal procedure has been completed, there is no living pulp tissue left inside the tooth. However, there are still nerve endings that remain in the ligaments that attach to the tooth surrounding the bone. The nerve fibre within these ligaments can still feel pain, and are often the source of any root canal pain you may be feeling.

As for the cause of the pain, there are may different reasons, and if you are concerned, you should visit your dentist. These reasons could include (but are not limited to) inflammation of the periapical tissues, which can occur due to extruded sealer during the endodontic procedure. Sometimes the root canal files can go past the apical terminus and damage the ligaments. This type of inflammation typically resolves itself over time.

Another source of discomfort could be due to a high bite. This can easily be corrected by your local dentist. If you are biting down, with no food in your mouth, and the tooth where you have had root canal treatment is hurting, then the bite should be adjusted.

Other causes of pain could be as simple as an infection, or even a root fracture. If you have fully completed your root canal treatment, but there is still infection around the periapical area, then this could mean that you need re-treating. This is particularly true if a significant amount of time has gone by, and the infection has not been resolved. Sometimes, if a tooth is fractured, this can also cause an infection. In these cases, the tooth will often require extraction.

Another very rare cause of pain in the site of a root canal tooth is what is commonly known as “phantom limb pain”. Patients that experience this phenomenon can sometimes even feel the pain after the tooth in question has been removed.

If you have undergone a root canal treatment and you are experiencing significant amounts of pain, be sure to get the tooth seen by your dentist.

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