• 23 FEB 16
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    Six Causes of Pain After a Root Canal

    Six Causes of Pain After a Root CanalAfter incessant tooth pain brings you to the dentist, you learn the cause of your discomfort: you have a badly damaged or decayed tooth. You schedule a root canal (formally known as an endodontic treatment) with Evanson DDS and have the procedure completed. You’re excited to be pain-free once more, but you’re discouraged to find out you’re still in pain! What could be wrong?

    According to Colgate.com, sensitivity around the treated tooth is normal following a root canal, but it should only last a maximum of three to five days. Dr. Evanson can provide medicine to reduce inflammation and get you through this period.

    However, if the pain persists longer than a few days, the procedure may have caused a complication. Consider the six possible causes of pain after a root canal according to dental health advice from Dr. Richard Mitchell, BDS and take the necessary steps to have it corrected.

    Infection in the Bone

    Perhaps you had a perfect root canal performed. The infected tooth is cleaned out, sealed properly and built up with a flawless filling or crown. However, if bacteria still mingle in the bone around the root, it could remain inflamed and painful.

    Fortunately, with the source of infection removed (the dead tooth nerve), bacteria have nowhere to hide. Your immune system should be able to wipe out the infection in time. To speed up the process, you can request a course of antibiotics.

    Infected Root Canal

    It’s possible for a tooth to become infected even after having a root canal. This frustrating situation occurs when the filling leaks, allowing bacteria from your saliva to work their way in around the edges of the filling. Once inside the root canal, bacteria can create an infection within just a few days.

    This is one reason many dentists cap the tooth with a crown after performing a root canal. It’s not always the go-to answer, though, because an already weakened tooth may be weakened beyond saving if it’s trimmed back to add a crown. At Evanson DDS, we use our professional experience to make the best decision for your oral health.

    An infected root canal can usually be retreated, unless the root is cracked or the tooth has broken below the gum line. In these cases, tooth extraction may be necessary.

    Cement or Air Forced Through the Root Tip

    It’s possible to overfill a root canal with dental cement, causing a bit of the material to ooze out of the root tip. Whether this causes any pain depends on the precise filling material used, how much escapes and where it goes.

    If the root tip itself was infected before the root canal, there’s probably room for a little excess cement and you’ll never know it was overfilled. If the tooth was not infected around the tip of the root, that’s when overfilling is likely to cause pain after a root canal.

    It’s rare, but a tiny bubble of air can also be forced out of the root tip, causing pressure and pain. It may take some time, but the pain in either case should subside on its own.

    Oversized Filling or Crown

    If the final filling or crown is even a fraction too big, it hits the opposite tooth with too much force compared to surrounding teeth, which can cause pain after a root canal. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. The dentist simply needs to adjust the filling or crown to remove the high spot on the tooth, though the pain may still linger for three to five days.

    Sodium Hypochlorite Leak

    During a root canal treatment, the dentist washes the tooth roots with sodium hypochlorite, a solution that kills bacteria, dissolves any remaining nerve tissue and washes away the slurry that accumulates during the process. In rare cases, some solution can leak out of the root tip, causing immediate pain, even with the area still numb. After the dentist flushes and dresses the area, you may need to take antibiotics and painkillers for a few weeks until the pain subsides.

    Missed Canal

    Teeth have several canals and some of them are difficult to detect, especially in molars. It’s possible a dentist may overlook an infected canal, leaving a bit of nerve inside the tooth or a small pocket for bacteria to form an infection.

    If a nerve is left behind, your tooth will remain sensitive to hot and cold as it was before the procedure. If bacteria are causing an infection, the tooth will be sensitive to pressure. Sometimes, the spaces left for bacteria to reside in are microscopic and found in the very tip of the root.

    Neither problem will settle down on its own. You need a repeat root canal, preferably at Evanson DDS, where the experienced dental team uses state-of-the-art procedures to correct these types of mistakes.

    If you’re experiencing pain after a root canal, don’t wait for the condition to worsen. Contact Evanson DDS online or call us at (720) 409-0008 to schedule an appointment.

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