Question

Root Canal Therapy

Will my tooth be sensitive after a root canal?

A Answers (46)

  • ADe Vizio, DMD, Dentistry, answered on behalf of Colgate

    Most teeth that have undergone a root canal will not be sensitive at all. This is because all the nerve and pulp has been cleaned out from the inside. But on the outside, some of the tissues and nerves around the tooth may have been irritated, inflamed, and possibly even infected during the procedure. This is why antibiotics are usually given before root canals and other dental procedures. Even after the inflammation goes away, these surrounding tissues and nerves may be sensitive to pressure and touch. You will have some sort of feeling of the tooth, but abnormal sensitivity should not return.

  • AWilliam M. Litaker, Dentistry, answered
    Sometimes a tooth may be sensitive to biting following a root canal. During a root canal the infected and damaged part of the tooth called the pulp is removed along with any infection at the end of the tooth root. These areas may take several weeks to heal. During this time the tooth may be sore at the end of the root and sore when biting. If this persists after a few weeks, you should contact your dentist.
  • ADante Gonzales, DMD, Dentistry, answered
    Although the nerve and the blood supply have been removed from your tooth during the rooth canal, the tissues surrounding the tooth, like the periodontal ligaments, may have some residual inflammation. This inflammation can make the tooth sensitive even after you have removed the nerve during the root canal.
  • AStanislav Moline, Endodontics, answered

    It depends because sensitivity is subjective. There should be no sensitivity to cold, and many patients experience no discomfort at all. If there was pain before treatment or treatment was complex, there is a possibility for discomfort to continue for 2-7 days after the treatment. In addition, when treatment requires two visits (ex: infection, re-treatment) and inter-visit medication is placed, there is possibility of sensitivity as well for 2-7 days

    In most cases, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications like Ibuprofen are quite helpful. Please contact your dentist before taking any medications to ensure they do not affect other medications you are taking or/and medical conditions you may have. If discomfort/sensitivity continues for over a week, please contact your dentist.

    Read more at: http://www.aae.org/patients/patientinfo/seeendo/posttrmtcare/ - official website of American Association of Endodontists

    Read also more at: https://www.endowithcare.com/FAQ_for_Patients.html - on my website.

  • AThomas Connelly, Dentistry, answered

    Typically yes. A root canal is a fairly involved procedure (think about it - you are getting your tooth hollowed out and filled). So the tooth and the area are going to be sensitive after the procedure. However, in most cases, the "relief" from the pain of the bad tooth offsets this discomfort.

    Most "after root canal" discomfort subsides in few days. For some people it could take longer. Plus, if there's a crown, that may take some time to get used to as well. Generally, if a few weeks go by and you are still experiencing discomfort, give your dentist a shout.

  • AMichael Fish, DMD, Dentistry, answered

    "Root canal" is the term typically used to describe the process of cleaning and filling the small spaces inside the roots of teeth. In a healthy tooth these spaces are occupied by nerve tissue and blood vessels that enable the tooth to experience sensation and pain.

    After treatment of the root canal, thermal sensitivity (response to hot or cold) should stop right away because the nerve tissue has theoretically been removed. However, it is normal to have "post-operative" discomfort, meaning pain - or sensitivity - after treatment. This is typically due caused by trauma to the ligament outside the root during treatment. This may be worse while chewing or biting; should respond to anti-inflammatory like IBUPROPHEN and should go away within 2-3 days.

    If pain on biting is your only symptom or is getting worse, you may need a bite adjustment. This can be done quickly and should relieve the discomfort.

    If infection is present prior to, or at the time of treatment, post-operative pain may linger up to a week or longer depending on the extent of damage. In certain instances, systemic antibiotics like penicillin may be prescribed. Ask your dentist if antibiotics are indicated.

    If persistent thermal (hot/cold) sensitivity is experienced after treatment residual nerve tissue may be present in the roots and additional treatment may be needed.

  • ASarah T. Poteet, Dentistry, answered

    A tooth can remain sensitive after a root canal but should quickly heal as the infection clears up. If a tooth remains sensitive for an extended period of time, tell your dentist. Sometimes root canals need to be retreated if they get re-infected or bacteria remains in the tooth. The dentist may prescribe antibiotics and/or pain medication to ease symptoms like swelling and pain.

  • AGerry Curatola, DDS, Dentistry, answered
    The range of sensitivity after a root canal procedure can range from mild soreness to extremely tender depending on the condition of the tooth especially the pulpal tissue inside and any infection present at the time of treatment. This causes inflammation and corresponding discomfort. NSAID's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are helpful, and I always like to use homeopathic medicines like Arnica Montana 30x to help provide relief. Your dentist generally relieves the bite and you should be sure to saty on a soft diet until healing is complete. If you notice that you touch the tooth when biting down, you should return to the dentist to adjust the bite accordingly as this can make the tooth especially sore.
  • ALinda King, Dentistry, answered

    The answer is - it depends. It depends largely on the state of disease that the tooth was in before it has had a root canal. If it is badly infected, the answer is most likely probably so. Bacteria have been encapsulated inside of the tooth and have been affecting the bone supporting the tooth. The inside of the tooth has been diseased for quite some time and it may take several weeks to feel better.

    If the tooth is vital - an example where the tooth doesn't hurt before the root canal is performed, perhaps not quite as sensitive.

    Everyone is a little different in their situations regarding comfort and sensitivity so, if you do have a tendency to become sensitive after procedures, you may likely will.

  • ADavid Jin, Dentistry, answered

    Unfortunately, there's no straight forward answer to this one. As a patient, you’re feeling of pain and sensitivity is always "true" to you. There are numerous reason for sensation on a root canal treated tooth and I am going to list a few...

    1. post root canal reaction or discomfort. The likely cause of this this comfort is instrumentation, irrigation and mechanical trauma to the tooth and surrounding area
    2. recurrent infection. As the name suggested, there are still bacteria within the tooth-bone mechanism, this may call for further intervention
    3. TMD - Temporal Mandibular Disorder (Myofacial Pain)
    4. this is only 1 tree in a forest of many, there can be other tooth with inflammatory issues.
    5. and lastly, remember the tooth is not a singular issue within your mouth, there are other related structures that may lead to a discomfort "sensitivity", i.e. the Periodontal ligament, the gum, etc.

    Whatever you think you have read thus far, it is most important for you to consult your personal Dentist, or a Dental expert in person.

     

  • AYasaman Roland, Dentistry, answered

    Your tooth may feel sore for a few days but it will calm down as it recovers from the procedure. After a root canal, a temporary filling is placed in the tooth. If you are experiencing discomfort that resembles a toothache, then the temporary filling maybe too high. This can be simply adjusted and you should feel relief immediately. 

  • ACarolyn romzick, Dentistry, answered

    Most often people can expect mild discomfort after root canal treatment that may last from a few days to several weeks. The sensitivity should be easily managed by an anti-inflammatory medication like Motrin or Advil along with avoiding trauma to the tooth by chewing on it. The nerve is gone but the ligament around the outside of the root still has nerve fibers and any irritation that occurred from infection prior to the root canal treatment can remain for a short time afterwards, causing discomfort. While the predictability of endodontic therapy (root canal treatment) has improved considerably over the past twenty years, there are still occasions where our best effort to anticipate potential problems becomes challenging. Teeth may have cracks or splits that cannot be seen with the naked eye but can cause lingering postoperative sensitivity that may never go away. Teeth with extensive cracks or splits do not have a good long term prognosis after root canal treatment and are most often eventually lost. Typically, you can expect mild discomfort after root canal treatment that subsides in a few days or at most, a few weeks depending on the degree of the tooth's problem before treatment was initiated.

  • AJohn Paul, Dentistry, answered

    It is possible for your tooth to be sensitive after a root canal. The tooth may be sore from the infection that led you to need a root canal and that should subside in a day or two. The tooth may be sore because it hits first or too hard when you chew and this requires a solution different from the root canal, but is easy to fix by sanding the tooth down a bit where it hits. If your tooth is sore for more than a few days after a root canal procedure, you should call your dentist and expect to have your symptoms re-evaluated. This sensitivity may be a sign that your tooth has a fracture in the root or that another tooth has a problem.

  • ATracy Thomas, Dentistry, answered

    One of the goals of a root canal is complete nerve removal and therefore the tooth itself will not be sensitive, but the procedure can cause irritation to the surrounding tissue resulting in sensitivity. You can also have sensitivity after a root canal from any swelling or inflammation from a pre-existing infection. 

    Overall the post-root canal pain should be an improvement to what you were experiencing before hand, but as with all procedures, you need to give the supporting tissue, i.e. your gums, time to heal as well. 

  • AKatherine Vo, DDS, Dentistry, answered

    It's not unusual for your tooth to be sensitive after a root canal. It varies pending the complexity of the procedure, condition of the tooth prior to the root canal - was there a possible fracture or presence of infection. Pain medications and/or antibiotics may help with alleviating this discomfort. If a root canal is successful, the sensitivity should be subsided in about 7-10 days. 

  • AChris Zaepfel, Dentistry, answered

    After a root canal the tooth should not be sensitive to hot or cold stimulus or upon chewing. In order to help you understand why, maybe it would help to explain the intricacies of what happens during a root canal.               

    When a dentist does a root canal on the tooth he places a very small access in the tooth. This enables the dentist get into the chamber that contains the coronal nerve or pulp of the tooth. The dentist then proceeds to remove the different extensions or canals of the nerve or pulp. He or she proceeds down the different canals with a series of increasingly larger files by hand or with a rotary or hand piece in order to shape the canal and remove nerve tissue. In front teeth or incisors there is usually one canal. In canine teeth and second bicuspids usually one large canal is present and in first bicuspids there are usually two canals. Molar teeth usually have three canals. All teeth have an anatomical variation.

    After the root canal is finished, a filling or core is placed in the tooth and a crown to give it strength. In theory all the nerve that was there to give you hot and cold stimuli and pain on chewing are all gone. It is however very important to make your re-care visits every six months because things can always go wrong as in any tooth.

    Root canals have a bad reputation in some circles but that is simply not the truth. It is usually a very soothing and pain free process to get a patient comfortable and out of pain.

       

  • AFrank Orlando, DDS, Dentistry, answered

    Yes, your tooth/mouth will have mild/moderate sensitivity after a root canal. This is usually from the actual procedure of cleaning out the infection, replacing it with a filling material, and having your mouth propped open for a certain amount of time. I recommend that you take ibuprofen (800 mg) every 8 hours for 3 days straight regardless of how you feel and that usually does the trick. Also, be sure to start taking the medication before the numbing wears off. It is always easier to control the pain if you get to it before it starts to hurt!  All in all, any pain you experience will usually get better day by day until you soon have no discomfort at all. The most important aspect of completing the process is to get a permanent restoration on that tooth as soon as you no longer have any discomfort. A full coverage crown is usually indicated to protect that tooth for the rest of your life.

  • ASupriya Verma, Dentistry, answered

    A tooth should not be sensitive when a root canal is completed and the tooth has had time to heal. Often, upon completion of a root canal the tooth may initially be "sore" even though there is no pain and the nerve is removed. This soreness is attributed to the periodontal ligament around the tooth getting inflamed from the root canal procedure. This periodontal ligament holds the tooth inside the socket and acts like a cushion around the tooth. The soreness should go away with time as the inflammation subsides. 

  • ASaul Miller, Dentistry, answered

    After root canal treatment, it is not uncommon for the patient to experience discomfort, or even pain that may last for several days.  Usually, over the counter analgesics will be satisfactory to relieve the discomfort, assuming that you are permitted to take them.  There are times, however when a prescription medication may be necessary. 

    If the discomfort does not resolve, it is important to contact the dentist who performed your endo therapy so that the tooth and problem can be reevaluated.

    It is also important to avoid chewing on the treated tooth and to avoid hard or chewy foods until the tooth has an appropriate restoration or crown placed.

    An article in the current Journal of the American Dental Association stated that a recent study showed that "the incidence of all-cause ...persistent tooth pain....after endodontic procedures is 5 to 7 percent."

  • ARussell Fitton, Dentistry, answered

    Depends on the situation. Most patients undergoing a root canal may have some sensitivity for a day or so. If there was a lot of pain with a toothache before the procedure it might take a day or so for the inflammation to go down. Thankfully this is controlled well with over the counter pain medication and in some instances prescription medication.

  • AMichael Goldberg, DMD, Dentistry, answered

    When you remove a splinter from your finger, pressing on it afterwards still causes an ache. That's the same thing that happens after a root canal. The area is sore and biting on it will make it ache. You won't have any temperature sensitivity, just the ache when chewing or biting on it. The sensation can last for a week or more and can be relieved by taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

    Of importance is to make sure that the tooth is not hitting the other teeth prematurely. This will exacerbate the aching. If this is the case, you will need to have your dentist adjust the bite.

  • AScott Smith, Dentistry, answered

    Yes, it will be sensitive to chewing for up to 6 months. Right after the root canal is completed it could be extremely sore for 3-4 days. Most people have no real issues. I have had 2 done on myself. It saved my tooth and I can eat like crazy.

  • AJeffrey Dalin, Dentistry, answered
    Normally once a root canal has been performed on a tooth, the sensiitivity or pain goes away. Occasionally it takes a few days to completely heal. Make sure the tooth is protected after this root canal is done. Many times a crown is needed to prevent fracture of the tooth (a tooth that has had a root canal becomes very brittle). Always keep your dentist informed if anything changes.
  • AElizabeth Carter, Dentistry, answered
    I would expect some discomfort after a root canal--teeth that need root canals have experienced injury to the pulp and just like any other injury there is some healing time after the therapy.  The discomfort is minor compared to the injury that has happened and can be managed by anti-inflammatories.
  • ARonald Linden, Dentistry, answered

    Sometimes yes and sometimes no. It depends if there is an active infection present, how sensitive your teeth are in general, the difficulty of the root canal, etc.

    In general, after a root canal, teeth are sensitive to pressure. There may be some throbbing and aching. Less frequently, it may swell or be sensitive to hot and/or cold. Normally if it does get sensitive, it should go away in a few days, or at least get better, if it's not getting better, contact your dentist.

  • AAlex Krempa, Dentistry, answered

    Some discomfort after a root canal is not uncommon. Often times Advil is sufficient to relieve this pain. Causes of sensitivity after a root canal can be numerous, including a cracked or split tooth, accessory canals in a tooth, a periodontal infection, irritation from root canal medicines, or resolution of an abscess. Most commonly though the ligaments around the tooth get sore due to the bite being off. Some sensitivity also occurs because the nerve and blood supply has been severed from the pulp of the tooth. Overall, it is important to follow up with your dentist if sensitivity remains.

  • ARichard Gochman, Dentistry, answered
    Generally a tooth may still be 'sore or sensitve' for 1-3 days after the completion of a root canal. Although the nerve has been removed from inside the tooth, the ligaments, nerves and blood vessels AROUND the root encased in bone tends to be inflamed from the root infection and/ or the treatment itself. That is why it still may not feel right until that inflammation settles down.
  • AAnagha Joshi, DDS, Dentistry, answered
    Ideally no. It shouldn't but if you had history of infection in that tooth then it may be sensitive for a few weeks and then the pain should go away.
  • ASteven Inaba, Dentistry, answered
    The tooth should not be sensitive to hot and cold because the nerve inside the canal has been removed, however, post-operative pain can result after root canal therapy. Discomfort can occur from the infection outside of the tooth, so the tooth might be tender to touch or pressure. The bite might be high from the temporary filling or crown, and this could feel like a sore tooth. You might also be tender at the injection site, or the gums might be sore from having to isolate the tooth with a rubber dam.
  • ARandall Lawson, Dentistry, answered
    Teeth that are damaged enough to require Root Canal Therapy will always have some accompanying soreness to them until the bone around the tooth has time to heal. This should not, typically, take a long time to occur. If the tooth has been infected for a long time it will take longer to heal and may never heal fully. A root canal-treated tooth should not be sensitive to hot or cold since there is no longer a nerve to feel these sensations. Most people tell me a tooth that has had this treatment never feels the same as the other teeth but it doesn't hurt, it just feels different.
  • AGeorge Hadeed, Dentistry, answered

    It usually will not be sensitive; however, several situations can have your tooth still sensitive:

    • Root canal filling material beyond the tip of the root (usually resolves in a few weeks-months)
    • A missed canal in a multi-rooted tooth (dentist may need to use a microscope to find the "missed canal"
    • Your occlusion (bite) may need adjusted
    • Residual infection (which is why antibiotics are prescribed)
    • A cracked tooth (tooth will hurt upon biting) which is sometimes difficult to detect.
  • AJanine Randazzo, Dentistry, answered
    You can expect some discomfort after a root canal. It varies by patient and how painful the tooth was before you had the root canal. Usually ibuprofen can take care of the discomfort and it shouldn't last long.
  • AChad Kasperowski, DMD, Dentistry, answered
    It all depends. We as dentists use the term "sensitive" to refer to the sensation felt by a tooth to thermal or chemical stimuli. (think ice cream on your front tooth) A root canal procedure by definition removes all of the nerve tissue inside the tooth. Therefore, there shouldn't be any "sensitivity" after a root canal. However, it is not uncommon to have "tenderness" associated with the tooth after the procedure due to inflammation of the supporting tissues (bone and gums) around the tooth. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen typically help with this discomfort post-operatively. In certain cases, stronger pain medications are necessary.
  • AGreg Jorgensen, DMD, Dentistry, answered
    Surprisingly yes! By definition "having a root canal" means the complete removal of the nerves, blood vessels, and everything else inside the tooth. How then can it still hurt afterwards? The pain can come from the tissues around the tooth, either due to the previous infection, the physical trauma of having the inside of the tooth filed, or even from having anesthetic injected in the area. The good news is that these symptoms are usually short-lived and you should be feeling much better within 24 to 48 hours.
  • AMark Levy, Dentistry, answered

    It very likely may. Or not. Depending on what type of problem precipitated the need for the root canal, and how difficult the tooth is to treat, sometimes it is expected to have some tenderness after treatment, particularly to biting pressure. Hot and cold sensation, however, will not be present. Usually ibuprofen will help get rid of any post-treatment soreness, and your dentist may prescribe antibiotics under certain circumstances. 

  • AAaron Schwartz, DDS, Dentistry, answered
    For a "baby-tooth" root canal, your child may experience some post-operative discomfort, mainly due to the 'gums' healing over the crown generally placed over the tooth after the root canal.  Children's ibuprofen will likely alleviate this discomfort.  Read dosage instructions carefully.
  • AJohn Boain, Dentistry, answered

    I always tell patients to give it about 5 days to calm down. Also, like any time you stub your toe or jam your finger, you generally stay away from using it. Same thing with a tooth, there is inflammation present and you need to stay away from the tooth for a while. Sometimes the tooth requiring root canal therapy does not ever bother the patient and the root canal is performed and then starts to hurt (kicking the sleeping tiger). Other times the tooth is severely hurting and the root canal gives immediate relief. Every situation is different, and a lot of times antibiotics as well as anti-inflammatories are prescribed. Most importantly, root canal success is higher the earlier it is treated.

  • AMark Birnbach, Dentistry, answered
    Generally, a root canal eliminates sever pain. However, depending upon the extent of the infection that has spread from the tooth to the surrounding areas, there may still be some minor discomfort on direct stimulation of the tooth (biting on it, or pushing on it with your finger). These sensations will subside in a matter of days.
  • ALucia Yau, DMD, Dentistry, answered

    It is not uncommon to still feel slightly sensitive initially after a root canal treatment. But the tooth usually feels a lot better than prior to the root canal treatment because the nerve(s) had been removed. The dentist can let you know whether antibiotic and pain medicine are recommended to make sure you are feeling as comfortable as can be. Any remaining discomfort usually disappears in a few days. 

  • APeter Barnett, Dentistry, answered
    A root canal is usually an infection and just as infections in other part of our bodies take time to heal and are sensitive during that healing process a root canal can be sensitive as well. Even though the cause of the infection is removed in the root canal procedure, the infection is still healing in the jawbone and this may cause sensitivity during the healing phase.
  • AMarc Gottlieb, Dentistry, answered
    Root Canals are very predictable and can be done painlessly. According to the American Dental Association ( ADA ) root canals are 90% successful.  Nine out of ten teeth that undergo a root canal will last a lifetime. One in Ten will fail and remain painful and require the root canal to be done over, possible surgery to remove the end of the root or extracted.

    It’s very normal for a tooth that just had root canal to be tender or uncomfortable. This usually lasts about 3 days to a week and occurs when chewing on it. I have seen patients that have had pain for up to two weeks.

    Make sure the tooth is not touching (high) when you close your teeth together and take advil or other medications as prescribed. If you are still concerned call the dentist
  • AR. Tom Glass, DDS, Dentistry, answered
    After root canal therapy, the sensitivity should last no more than 3 weeks to 3 months. If it persists, you should see the dentist who performed the root canal.
  • ASally Kashani, DDS, Dentistry, answered

    Every situation is different. Sometimes you many feel "sore" after a root canal, some people feel nothing and some feel better than they did before going into the root canal.

    The purpose of the root canal is relieve pain and hopefully that is the case. If there is sensitivity, it may last a day to a week. If your tooth was badly infected before the root canal then symptoms after the procedure are more likely.

    Your dentist may choose to put you on antibiotics which can help alot with pain or sensitivity after.

  • AStephen Carstensen, DDS, Dentistry, answered

    Not for long, and not to the hot and cold triggers that many people find painful when their tooth is so damaged that it needs a root canal in the first place. Just like any injury takes time to heal, so does your tooth and the tissue around it. Depending on how badly damaged your tooth was, this will take almost no time or several days, maybe even needing medications to help your body heal.

    You and your dentist must also take care of your bite so you don't put too much pressure on the tooth while it is healing.

  • AGregory D. D. Tuttle, DDS, Dentistry, answered

    There may be a period of post-op discomfort, but this is usually well-treated with over-the-counter pain meds. In some cases, a prescription pain medication may be appropriate. Long-term however, the living portion of the tooth (pulp) has been removed (including the nerve) during the root canal treatment process; thus, the tooth itself should have no sensation. Any perception of feeling seeming to come from the tooth is almost certainly from the innervation of the supporting tissues of the tooth (gums and bone).

  • AJerry Gordon, Dentistry, answered

    You can expect some discomfort after a root canal for at least 3-5 days. In most cases, over-the-counter pain medication like Ibuprofen 400-800 mg (2-4 Advil or Motrin) will do the trick. I often prescribe prescription pain medication just in case the pain is greater than normal. Increasing pain after 3-4 days or any swelling in the cheek or gum should be a red flag to call your dentist.

    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
Did You See?  Close
What are some complications of root canal treated teeth?