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Root Canals

Gum swelling long after two root canals



In 2004 I had a root canal on a back tooth. The tooth continued to hurt but after x-raying it again the dentist permanently applied the crown saying he didn’t see anything wrong. I dismissed it thinking I was being a baby.

Approximately 5 months later a pea sized knot started above the treated tooth (in the upper most part of my cheek and gum) and was sore to the touch and was infected. The knot finally became less painful but the knot remained.

About a year ago the tooth became sore and the gum inflamed again. I went to a second dentist who took an x-ray and said there was something "suspicious" and did a second root canal.

Things were good for about 3 months, and then the gum became inflamed and very sore. Within a day I became fevered and sick. The dentist prescribed an antibiotic and the swelling went down. A week later he performed another procedure, grinding the crown and tooth down (to almost nothing) and applying a temporary crown, then a permanent crown a week after that. Again, things were "good.”

Now again, approximately 2-3 months later, the gum above that tooth is inflamed and what seems to be the bone above the tooth, aches and is tender to chew on. I’ve spent a small fortune on this one tooth and wonder if I’m being "taken" or if there is an underlying problem they keep missing. T

The tooth has had two root canals, it shouldn’t hurt should it? I’m at my "roots" end....can you please enlighten me with some suggestions as what could be continually causing the same problem?

Thank you for any advice you can offer.


Teeth that have had root canal treatment can become painful when they become reinfected or there is residual infection. That can occur for a number of reasons (cracks, recurrent decay, residual bacteria/tissue, etc.).

I cannot tell you what is wrong with your tooth just from your explanation of the situation. However, what I do recommend is that you are seen by an endodontist who is a specialist in this field. An evaluation from a specialist can offer some explanations and/or a plan for what can be done next.

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Go to the Root Canals health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS
Assistant Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University