5 Reasons You Can Have Pain After A Root Canal

The Root of Root Canal Pain

Root canal surgery helps with the tooth pain that you may be experiencing. Some of these causes might be due to tooth decay, tooth infection, tooth trauma, or if your tooth is slowly dying due to past trauma. Each of these issues is treatable with a root canal. Usually, a root canal can last anywhere from a half-hour to an hour and a half depending on each case’s complexity. Following your root canal, you will be sent home with instructions on how to treat your tooth and to take care of yourself. Even with a perfectly performed root canal, there can still be pain afterward. 

Normal pain right after a root canal can usually last for three to five days. This pain is usually caused by a variety of things after you’ve had major surgery. During a root canal procedure, the dentist makes a small opening in the crown of the tooth and cleans out the diseased pulp inside the pulp chamber of the tooth. After your tooth is cleaned and all decay is removed, your tooth will be sealed with a crown or filling. While this is uncomfortable, any pain and sensitivity following a root canal should only last a few days.

Abnormal Root Canal Pain

If you find yourself having pain after the three to five day window there may be a few things that are causing that pain. Sharp, intense pain right after treatment can be considered normal, but if you are having severe pain more than one week after treatment, this is not normal.

When you feel intense tooth pain over a week after a root canal, that is an indicator that the infection is still there and the root canal wasn’t successful. You could have an infection in the bone, an infected root canal, missed canal, cement or air forced through the root tip, or an oversized crown or filling. Each of these complications have their own unique issues and root causes. So let’s dive into what these complications look like up close.


Infection in the Bone

After all of the infection and decay is cleaned out of your tooth there is still a risk that there might be some infection in your bone. Because our mouths are filled with good and bad bacteria, there is a chance that there might be lingering bacteria around the bone of the tooth. This bacteria could get down to the bone and become very painful and inflamed. While this type of infection can be painful it is treatable. When we remove all the dead tooth and nerve, your immune system should be able to wipe out the infection. In some cases your immune system might need some help so you could get a prescription of antibiotics that can get your infection treated even quicker. 


Infected Root Canal

It’s possible for your tooth to become infected, even after a root canal. When this happens it is usually because a filling leaks and allows bacteria from your saliva to get around the edges of the new filling. Once that bacteria enters the canal it can create infection within just a few days.

For this reason most dentists will cap a tooth that needs a root canal with a crown and not just a filling. We want to help you and save your teeth so sometimes a crown might not be the best answer. Each and every case is different and at Snodgrass-King we make sure to do what’s best for you. 


Missed Canal

Your teeth are filled with different canals. Usually, each tooth has one to four canals. When you get a root canal it is going into a specific canal and getting out all of the old infection and decay and then closing it up. With these different canals some are harder to detect than others. Most dentists start with an X-ray to display where the infection has spread and to know where to treat. Even with all of these measures, it is still possible that a canal might get overlooked and left untreated. 

When a canal is missed then it can cause issues. This causes the nerve inside the tooth to become a pocket for bacteria to form an infection. When this happens your tooth will still be super sensitive to hot and cold as it was before the root canal. In these cases if the dentist determines that there was a missed canal, then the root canal procedure has to be repeated. For the second root canal procedure it can be more invasive because the issue might be deeper than first diagnosed. Missing a canal is not an issue that will resolve on its own so we want to make sure that you come and visit us so that we can help diagnose what the cause of your pain might be. 


Cement or Air Forced Through the Root Tip

When filling a root canal, sometimes they can get overfilled with dental cement. This causes material to come out of the root tip. Depending on what kind of filling material was used and how much escapes will impact how much pain you may be in. You could also be in more or less pain based on what kind of condition your tooth was in before. 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. Another rare issue is when air gets forced through the root tip which can cause pressure and pain. With these kinds of air bubbles, they can usually resolve themselves. While they take time to heal the pain should subside on its own without any treatment.


Oversized Crown or Filling

After getting your crown or filling you may find after three to five days it is still painful to bite down. Your teeth may also be bothered and feel overcrowded. This is usually because the crown or filling is too large in your mouth. If your filling is still hitting your surrounding teeth you will need to schedule a visit with your dentist. Then you get get your filling or crown adjusted so that it will fit more comfortably in your mouth. This issue is a quick fix and usually takes another three to five days for any lingering pain to heal and for you to get used to the new feel of your tooth. 

If You’re Having Abnormal Pain

We know that any of these issues can be painful but they are all treatable. Root canals can cause a lot of stress, but we want you to know if you are having any of the issues listed above to please come in and see us. While these issues are painful there are treatments that we can help you with. We have a team of specialists who can help treat your needs. When you do get a root canal we ask that you follow proper aftercare. Making sure to brush, floss, keep up with regular appointments, and don’t eat hard foods or other things that can cause your teeth to break. Following this aftercare it will help your recovery and overall healing. We want to make sure you are taken off. So, the sooner you have one of our dentists check out any abnormal pain you might be having the sooner we can get you treated. 


Visit Us For Your Root Canal in Tennessee

If you are still having pain you should call our office and see what we can do for you. At Snodgrass-King, we know a lot about root canals and what kinds of issues may arise. It is important to keep your mouth healthy so that you are staying healthy. We want to help you achieve the best kind of dental care you can. 

Our facilities have been sanitized from floor to ceiling, and we will continue to follow all ADA, CDC, and local health department guidelines. We understand the concern you may have regarding COVID-19 and want you to know that we share those concerns and are ensuring your safety in our offices. For more information on what to expect at your next appointment, visit our website at snodgrassking.com

Snodgrass-King Dental Associates has 5 locations across Middle Tennessee (Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Cool Springs). Contact us today to see if we can help jump-start and be a resource in you or your child’s healthy, dental lifestyle. We offer a variety of services for both children and adults. We can also address any orthodontic needs for children, teens, and adults. If you have any questions, call us today at (615) 771-1111.