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Root Canals

Do I need a root canal?



I recently had a jaw/tooth ache for about a week. It started on a asunday and would rarely hurt until the end of the week. By thursday night the whole side of my face was hurting. The jaw, top and bottom teeth and sometimes ear pain. I have previously been treated for TMJ but the pain had gone away several years ago. I went to the dentist friday morning and he did some tests (tapped on teeth and applied pressure to teeth). He asked me which tooth hurt or felt different. One tooth with a crown felt a little different when he did these tests so he took an x ray to see the roots. He said that I need a root canal on that tooth and prescribed me antibiotics and pain medicine. By the end of the day, the pain had pretty much stopped. This was even before I filled my prescriptions. I have started taking the antibiotics but I am wondering if i really need the root canal. The pain went away on its own and I was wondering if maybe that tooth felt different in his tests simply because there was a crown on that tooth and no crown on the other teeth that he tested.


Differentiating between jaw pain, muscle pain, and tooth pain can be very difficult. If you are concerned that your problem may not be a tooth problem, I would recommend a consult by an endodontist. It is common for endodontists to see situations such as yours where the diagnosis may be more difficult. Endodontists have specialized training to help with these scenarios. I hope this helps.

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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