Should I talk to my dentist if I still feel tooth pain after a root canal?

Hopefully your dentist has explained to you what to expect after you have received an interim or final visit for Root Canal Therapy. Some pain or discomfort is quite normal and to be expected. This varies greatly depending upon whether or not there was an infection present, the particular procedure, and your pain threshold. If what you experience is different from what your dentist has predicted or if you have any questions at all regarding your treatment or experiences, you should absolutely ask to speak to your dentist. We always want the best for our patients, for them to be as comfortable as possible, and to be completely satisfied not only with their treatment, but the manner in which they were treated by the entire staff from start to finish. 

Some soreness after a root canal is normal. The area at the end of the root of the tooth may be sore as while as the area where the numbing medicine was given. These areas may take several weeks to heal. If you have severe pain, you should contact your dentist.

You should always let your dentist know when you feel pain. Right after the root canal is completed the tooth is often tender, and pain medication may be needed. This pain resolves usually within the first week. It may take several months before the tooth feels "normal". If it is pain -- not just tenderness -- you should let the dentist know. There may be an extra canal or a crack in the root.

Be sure to advise your dentist if you are experiencing pain, swelling, bleeding or other problems following a root canal. Regular checkups are necessary; a tooth without its nerve can still develop cavities or gum disease. Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. 

Yes. While it is not abnormal to have some discomfort after some dental procedures, your dentist should be able to help you distinguish if your pain is not typical. Since you use the word "pain," it would be smart to contact your dentist. If you are still experiencing pain or discomfort for an extended time after the procedure has been completed, there may be a problem that needs to be addressed.

There may be a reason for pain after root canal therapy. A final restoration (filling, crown, etc.) may be in need of adjustment (needs to be re-shaped to be better compatible with your mouth). Some teeth have accessory (extra) canals that are undetected at the time of root canal treatment and may need to be found and treated. Remember that although tooth roots sometimes have only one canal, many have two or more canals. All canals must be located and treated for the symptoms to be alleviated.

As with other dental and medical procedures, some patients report pain after corrective treatment. Your dentist can help you discover the reason for your continued pain and give you a time estimate for your expected relief of symptoms, or may suggest further procedures to resolve the problem.
It depends on timeframe, and how much pain it is. it is very common to have "some" pain after a root canal. This pain will typically reside after a few days to perhaps a week (and truthfully, it shouldn't be that bad in the first place.) However, if you have BAD pain right after your root canal, something may be amiss, and I would recommend you call your dentist.
Stephen P. Simpson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Absolutely -- your dentist has the expertise and experience to determine if the discomfort is part of the normal healing process or if there are complications present. Generally your dentist will furnish you with information about the sort of sensations you should anticipate post-treatment, but there are often individual circumstances present that may lead to a variation in your response. Your dentist can assess your condition and make recommendations that may preclude the need for further intervention or minimize any additional treatment.
Sometimes, teeth are treated with root canal therapy and it is successful. It takes away the pain and you have no further problems. Sometimes it doesn't take away the pain and the only way to get relief from the pain is to extract the tooth. That is a disappointment for both the treating dentist and the patient.

Although root canals have a high percentage to get the patient out of pain, unfortunately there are failures. Nothing in the medical or dental world is one hundred percent. The body is a very complicated area and the mouth follows along with the same complications. What materials can you keep in moisture all of the time and exert them with forces of that chewing, clenching and grinding.     

If you feel pain on chewing it can be a sign that the tooth is split in half by the normal wear and tear of chewing. A normal tooth without a large restoration can split in two if you occlude or bite down on something hard enough. There all sorts of things that can weaken teeth.

Another pain you may feel is sensitivity to thermal changes such as hot or cold. This could be a sign that there was an accessory nerve in the tooth that was not visible to the dentist and the root canal may need to be retreated. Nobody made a mistake; sometimes these teeth will hide the smallest canals in the most inconspicuous places.

Another pain may be a dull ache that is kind of 'an itch you can't scratch' hard for the patient to describe. It is a deep kind of annoying pain that isn't awful but is there. That is usually a pain that is periodontal in nature. In other words, an infection of the gums caused by the irritation of the plaque that is being retained there.

Nothing in the mouth is static. It is constantly undergoing changes due to its environment. Your medical health and your oral health are intimately related. Oral disease has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and oral and metastatic cancer to name a few.

In conclusion it is you responsibility to be aware of why you are having pains that are not normal in your mouth. I don't expect you to have a dental degree. At the very least get into your dentist for your re-care visits every six months if not more. There is no such of a thing as a stupid question and believe me your dentist is there to help you. Call him or her any time. Your dentist is always there to help you. 
Yohan Kim, DMD
I absolutely recommend that you talk to your dentist.

The pain can come from the root canal or it can be from another tooth in the area which might have decay. Sometimes, after root canal depending on the size of the infection you had, you might have pain after root canal as long as 1-2 weeks. Whatever the reason is, if you avoid it, it will just create a bigger problem. If you find out that it is nothing that you need to worry about, you feel peace in your mind. I advise you talk to your dentist and find out why you are experiencing pain.
If the tooth aches for more than 5 days after a root canal an antibiotic may be indicated to help treat the remaining infection under the tooth, so contact your dentist for help.

Most definitely you should speak with your dentist. Tooth sensitivity to pressure is common after root canal therapy, however temperature sensitivity is not. Ask your dentist to reevaluate if sensitivity is abnormal or if the sensitivity persists for more than a couple of weeks.



Yes. Your dentist may need to evaluate the tooth or adjust your bite if the tooth is in contact with the opposing tooth which may be the cause of the pain.
In my experience doing root canal therapy for nearly 40 years, most patients have some tenderness after treatment. Typically "mild soreness" possibly requiring over-the-counter medication such as ibuprophen or acetaminophen for a few days is enough to control the discomfort. Occasionally patients have no soreness at all -- the ideal response. And occasionally patients have more severe pain requiring a prescription pain medication for adequate control. All of these responses are within the normal range and do not indicate any problems that will affect a positive outcome. There are, however, problems that can occur even after ideal treatment. If you have swelling or pain that worsens as time passes, this may indicate residual infection in the bone and will need to be treated. In these instances you should definitely call your doctor. The bottom line is to trust your feelings. If you have any concerns you should talk to your doctor as he/she will be in the best position to advise you if any follow up is necessary.
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.

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."

I would always recommend talking to your dentist if you have any concern whatsoever. The most important aspect of your relationship is two-way communication. That being said, it is normal to have mild/moderate discomfort after root canal treatment. I recommend taking 800mg ibuprofen every 8 hours for 3 days regardless of how you feel. If you are still experiencing anything unpleasant I would not hesitate to call and discuss with your dentist.

If you feel a concern about the discomfort you feel after root canal treatment then you should not hesitate to inform your dentist. Your dentist can reassure you if what you feel is within the normal range of post-op discomfort or if it needs to be addressed. This will not only help you feel better but it can also prevent it from getting worse if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.   
Yes, it is possible that the bite may need to be adjusted, you may need a prescription to heal things up or that something is going on with the root. Also remember that teeth in the molar region and premolar region usually need crowns over the root canaled tooth to preserve form and function of that tooth.

If you have any concerns, you should call your dentist. We would much rather you call and discuss your condition and any possible remedies, rather than have you worry or even worse have a small problem develop into a bigger problem.

See your dentist as soon as possible after breaking a tooth. Some people avoid seeing their dentist if their broken tooth is not hurting them. This is not a good idea, because, over time, a tooth can break further or decay and then need more comprehensive treatment.

Protect your root canal tooth with a crown. Most teeth that have had root canal will require a crown or cap to rebuild and protect it. Unprotected teeth that have had root canal can break and may need to be removed.

Give your dentist your complete medical history. Make sure you give your dentist a complete medical history when you fill out the form, including all prescription and nonprescription medication you are taking. Make sure you tell your dentist of any change in your health since the last time you where in his or her office.

See your dentist at least twice a year, more if you have been diagnosed with gum disease. Many dental problems, like small cavities and gum disease, are painless. Missing dental appointments increase the likelihood of needing a root canal, crown, or gum treatment.

Prevent cavities by using fluoridated toothpaste. Most people are susceptible to cavities, and should use a fluoride containing toothpaste. I also recommend including a fluoride containing mouthwash or prescription strength fluoride gel for those especially cavity prone.

Avoid soda. Sodas, sweetened and unsweetened, are acidic and promote tooth decay.

Brush your teeth before bedtime. As we sleep, there is a reduction in the flow of tooth protecting saliva. Food left on your teeth overnight can contribute to tooth decay. I always recommend brushing after eating and before bed. 

Get a second opinion. If you have any doubts about the treatment your dentist is prescribing, get a second or even a third opinion. The more information you have, the better decision you will make.

Ask about alternative treatment options. In most cases, there is more than one way to treat a specific problem or set of problems. Make sure your dentist gives you all of your treatment options, and the pros, cons, and costs of each option.

Know what your dental insurance covers and does not cover. There are many different types of dental plans, and the amount of coverage varies from plan to plan, and from dental office to dental office. The more you know about your dental plan, the easier it will be when checking out at the front desk when your treatment is completed.
While post-operative discomfort following root canal therapy is common, there are times where it can become very uncomfortable. Call your dentist if pain is unbearable or unmanageable with medication. Sometimes a strong anti-inflammatory medication (steroid) can be given to help in these situations. If you had pain and swelling just prior to the root canal, then it's likely the pain will continue for a few days until the infection can be handled by the body's immune system.
Yes. Although some soreness is completely normal. It takes about 5 days to go away. A lot of times the root canal therapy disturbs the tooth and causes an inflammatory reaction that will require additional medication.
Certainly, the continuing presence of pain after the root canal may indicate the continuing presence of infection that may need to be treated more aggressively. If it's not treated, it could lead to bigger problems for you.
Lucia Yau, DDS
Definitely. Communication between you and the dentist is very important. Individual perception of pain can be very different. Your dentist can help you determine whether the pain is a normal post operative pain or something that needs more attention.
Some discomfort after having a root canal performed is not unusual. However if the pain persists or increases, contacting your dentist is the right thing to do.
Your dentist will usually let you know that some pain is normal. If your pain gets worse then you should contact your dentist. Otherwise with some antibiotics and pain medication the pain should get less and go away.

Post-op discomfort can vary for each patient depending on the clinical condition of the tooth, nerve, and whether there is an active infection present. The goal of root canal therapy is to remove the source of the infection and/or symptoms and allow for the body to heal itself. There may be post-operative discomfort but this should improve over a short period of time. Any symptoms that persist should be evaluated by your dentist. 

Some sensitivity can occur right after the tooth is worked on. However, if the pain persists or increases, then its a good idea to contact the dentist. Medication can often take the edge off a sensitive tooth.
Some amount of soreness after a root canal is normal. However, if you are still experiencing a tooth ache or pain for longer than a few days, you should contact your dentist right away. You should also let your dentist know if you are feeling pressure around your tooth or in your jaw.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.