Why do I still have pain weeks after my root canal?

Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort. If you are still experiencing pain weeks after a root canal, contact your dentist right away. You may need follow-up treatment.  
Generally speaking, having a root canal should remove the pain you are feeling from an infected tooth. The procedure eliminates the infection and the nerve tissue within the tooth. If your root canal was required because of a cracked tooth, you may feel pain after your root canal if there is deeper damage, possibly to your jaw bone. If you continue to have pain several weeks after a root canal, contact your dentist.
Most pain should subside within a week of having a root canal completed. If pain persists, it could indicate that there is still a low-grade infection around the tooth. In some cases, your dentist can prescribe you an antibiotic, or adjust the filling placed in the tooth if it was overbuilt. If these measures do not work, the root canal may need to be redone, or the tooth may need to be removed.

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It is not unusual to have soreness, even significant soreness, for up to a week or so after a root canal. Sometimes in the course of cleaning out the canal(s) of the tooth a bit of the material cleaned off the walls of the canal can be inadvertently pushed through the tip of the root. Sometimes the instrument itself may be inserted past the tip of the root, irritating the surrounding tissues.

But if after a week or two if the pain is not getting significantly better, it is a good idea to go back to the dentist for examination. It may be a problem as simple as a temporary filling that is too "high" and puts too much pressure on the tooth when you chew. But it can also be a sign that there is a problem, either with the root canal treatment itself, or other problems with the tooth (such as root fracture).

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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.