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Root Canals

Serious problems following root canal

09/11/2006

Question:

I had a root canal started on a lower right molar approximately three weeks ago. The doctor had great difficulty numbing the tooth and resorted to drilling into the tooth and numbing the nerve directly (which was extremely painful).

Since the procedure I have had pain and pressure in my jaw, ear, head and neck, running down the underside of my arm and into my hand, numbess in my face, lips, and fingers on that side and a generally "sick" feeling (muscle aches and pains, weakness, dizzyness, lightheadedness, inabilty to concentrate, etc). The root canal was to be completed 4 days ago but I opted to have the tooth extracted instead, hoping this would solve the problems. It has not.

My dentist is at a loss as to why this is happening so yesterday I went to the hospital to try and find out what was wrong. X-rays, cat scan and bloodwork showed nothing. I`m starting to feel like I`m losing my mind. What could be wrong??

Answer:

The symptoms you are describing do not appear to be related to the dental treatment you described. Getting an injection into the actual nerve of the tooth can be quite painful and is usually the last attempt to get a vital tooth numb for treatment. However, the small amount of anesthetic given stays within the tooth and the very small amount that may get out breaks down pretty quickly.

Since you also made the choice to extract the tooth, any potential source of infection was also removed with the tooth (however, since you need the intrapulpal injection the tooth was probably vital and not severely infected). Therefore the tooth/procedure probably can be ruled out as a source of your symptoms.

Of course this is just an educated guess since I have not seen your case. Further medical examination may be needed to determine the cause of your symptoms.

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Response by:

John M Nusstein, DDS John M Nusstein, DDS
Associate Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University