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Root Canals

Tooth pain after a root canal

06/24/2008

Question:

I had a root canal done on tooth #19 on 5/9/08 by an endodontist, a temporary was placed on the tooth. My dentist did the build up on my tooth for a crown a week later on 5/15/08, and another temporary was placed. On 6/4/08, my permanet crown was placed on the tooth (I did not chew on this tooth from 5/9/08 to 6/4/08 due to the temporaries and was instructed not to because of them).

Since 6/4/08, my tooth still hurts and it hurts to chew. I went back on 6/11/08 and my dentist readjusted the crown a little, but also performed a tapping test, and the tooth hurt. My dentist stated that the tooth should have no pain after a root canal and mentioned tooth #20 was also sensitive to the tapping. He referred me back to the endodontist.

I saw the endodontist the next day and he did some more readjustments to the crown and told me to give it a couple of weeks. He tested my bite, asked me to bite down and grind my teeth. My tooth is sensitive and hurts when I push on it with my tongue and even with my finger. There is not a throbbing pain, but a dull pain after I do this. It hurts to chew and now there is some sensitivity to cold when I chew (I am not sure if this is tooth #19 or #20, as both the dentist and endodontist stated #20 is sensitive. The endodontist did a cold test with tooth #20, it was painful, but the pain went away after a few seconds).

I know for a fact though, the root canal tooth hurts when I chew and when I apply pressure against it with my finger. Isn`t the tooth suppose be "dead" after a root canal and there should be no pain with tapping on it or pushing it with a finger or touching it?

Do you think a re-treatment is needed? And if so, am I liable for the cost of the re-treatment? Wouldn`t the endodontist be liable since the originally root canal was not a success (say he missed another canal)? And I would still have to get another crown after the re-treatment, shouldn`t the endodontist be responsible for this as well?

Answer:

It can be normal to have some discomfort after root canal treatment. For more information about this, please see the previously answered question Root canal (08/28/2007).

Since patients vary in the length of time of postoperative discomfort, I would not worry about a retreatment at this time. I would continue to follow-up with your endodontist.

For more information:

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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