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Root Canals

Post root canal pain

04/16/2007

Question:

I had a root canal done on the upper right side, third tooth from the back. It was performed by an endontist in two appointments. He said I waited too long and crystals/pearls had formed.

One week after the second appointment I was still experiencing pain. I called the endodontist and he had ecluded (shaved down) the tooth, put me on penicillin to fight a bacterial infection and gave me pain killers in case I needed them.

Another week has passed and I am still in pain. I take Ibuprofen every three hours and the pain killers once a day only on non-work days. My jaw feels tight from my cheek bone to my lips and I have aching pain after an hour and a half if I miss the Ibuprofen.

Throughout the course of the day I can get 5-7 minute debilitating sharp aching episodes of pain. These also happen in the middle of the night 1-3 times. Do you think this will go away soon? Am I being a baby and it will fix itself? Thanks.

Answer:

Individuals vary greatly in the time it takes for the pain to dissipate after a root canal procedure. The length of time of discomfort can also vary greatly depending on the condition of the tooth at the time of the root canal.

I can not comment on the condition of the tooth since I was not the one to perform the initial procedure and diagnosis. However, it is not uncommon to experience pain within the first few weeks after certain root canal treatments. The problem arises if things don't seem to be getting better. If things are not resolving there may be other reasons for the continued pain.

I would suspect that you would feel more comfortable checking in with your endodontist, and they would probably like to know if things don't seem to be getting better. The endodontist has all the information about your case and can better predict if this is within your normal course of healing or whether you are due for another evaluation.

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Response by:

Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS
Assistant Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University