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Root Canals

Tooth pain after a root canal



I had a root canal done on tooth #19 on 5/9/08 by an endodontist, a temporary was placed on the tooth. My dentist did the build up on my tooth for a crown a week later on 5/15/08, and another temporary was placed. On 6/4/08, my permanet crown was placed on the tooth (I did not chew on this tooth from 5/9/08 to 6/4/08 due to the temporaries and was instructed not to because of them).

Since 6/4/08, my tooth still hurts and it hurts to chew. I went back on 6/11/08 and my dentist readjusted the crown a little, but also performed a tapping test, and the tooth hurt. My dentist stated that the tooth should have no pain after a root canal and mentioned tooth #20 was also sensitive to the tapping. He referred me back to the endodontist.

I saw the endodontist the next day and he did some more readjustments to the crown and told me to give it a couple of weeks. He tested my bite, asked me to bite down and grind my teeth. My tooth is sensitive and hurts when I push on it with my tongue and even with my finger. There is not a throbbing pain, but a dull pain after I do this. It hurts to chew and now there is some sensitivity to cold when I chew (I am not sure if this is tooth #19 or #20, as both the dentist and endodontist stated #20 is sensitive. The endodontist did a cold test with tooth #20, it was painful, but the pain went away after a few seconds).

I know for a fact though, the root canal tooth hurts when I chew and when I apply pressure against it with my finger. Isn`t the tooth suppose be "dead" after a root canal and there should be no pain with tapping on it or pushing it with a finger or touching it?

Do you think a re-treatment is needed? And if so, am I liable for the cost of the re-treatment? Wouldn`t the endodontist be liable since the originally root canal was not a success (say he missed another canal)? And I would still have to get another crown after the re-treatment, shouldn`t the endodontist be responsible for this as well?


It can be normal to have some discomfort after root canal treatment. For more information about this, please see the previously answered question Root canal (08/28/2007).

Since patients vary in the length of time of postoperative discomfort, I would not worry about a retreatment at this time. I would continue to follow-up with your endodontist.

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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