If you’ve ever experienced the excruciating tooth pain caused from needing a root canal, you were probably relieved after the process was over and you were finally pain free. No one wants to have a root canal, but once you need one, having this dental procedure is a welcomed relief. But what if you have a root canal and you are still experiencing pain?
There are a few reasons someone can experience pain after a root canal has been completed. A root canal, when done by an experienced dentist, leaves no living pulp tissue inside of a tooth. There is however nerve endings in the ligaments that attach a tooth to the jaw bone. The ligament nerve endings can feel pain and are typically the source of pain even after a root canal is complete.
Ligaments can be damaged during a root canal procedure, causing excess inflammation. Eventually inflammation will settle down and the pain should resolve itself. The periapical tissues can also become inflamed post root canal and like inflamed ligaments cause pain. There can be a lingering, persistent infection with severe root canal cases that can cause pain. Occasionally infection can remain around the periapical area if the tooth or root is fractured, and the tooth will need to be retreated. If pain persists after re-treatment, the tooth will most likely need to be extracted.
Sometimes root canal patients experience high bite after a root canal where the crown or filling is not exactly fitting correctly. If you have pain in the tooth that received a root canal when biting down, ask your dentist or endodontist to adjust the bite. In very rare cases, some people experience something similar to “phantom limb pain”, but it is pain due to sensitization of a nerve ganglion.
It is important to call and schedule an appointment with your dental professional if you are experiencing consistent pain after a root canal.