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Why Does My Tooth Hurt After A Root Canal?

A root canal is a pretty straightforward surgery, but it does come with some problems, even when performed correctly. What you should know however is that the surgery itself is not extremely painful. In fact, the pain is minimal thanks to localized anesthesia.

If you’ve just gone through a root canal or planning to go through one, the following is some information may be good for you to know.

Is it normal to feel pain after a root canal?

Most people are of the opinion that a root canal will eliminate all tooth pain immediately after the surgery. However, this isn’t always the case. Pain and/or discomfort is to be expected as the impacted tooth goes through the healing process. Tenderness is also to be expected, even along the jaw line and the untouched portion of the teeth. The good news is that this pain will subside in time under normal conditions.

What are the main reasons why a root canal would continue to hurt after the procedure?

As previously mentioned, pain can be expected after a root canal as the healing process is underway. The regular tenderness is quite common, but this should disappear after a few days. Note though that for some people, the pain lingers, making it difficult for them to chew, talk, or even just run their tongue over the affected area. Reasons for this vary but may include complications with the procedure. Chances are there are still remaining abscesses or infected tooth in the mouth, or the new filling hasn’t completely healed inside. With the improvements of technology however, this is rarely the case. More often than not, the pain is caused by the following:

  • Teeth grinding, often done unconsciously, can put undue pressure on the teeth. Instead of the surgery healing nicely, the inflamed gums are interrupted, therefore preventing them from healing completely.
  • Chewing or eating the wrong kind of food can also cause pain after a root canal. Ideally, your food choices after the surgery should be confined to soft food items. In fact, it’s a good idea NOT to chew or bite on the infected tooth, focusing you chewing on the unaffected area.

How long should it take for the pain to subside?

The pain should subside after a few days, each day being more bearable than the last. If the pain persists for more than 2 or 3 days and does not decrease in intensity, contacting your dentist is a good idea. Note that a root canal is often followed by several other sessions as your dentist checks to make sure that the filling is adhering properly to the teeth.

What are the symptoms of a failing root canal?

Pain is the most obvious symptom of a failing root canal surgery. It’s important to keep in mind though that this could occur months or years after the surgery – hence the importance of checking in with your dentist to prevent future complications. Symptoms are no different from the original signs of a root canal problem. You’ll experience pain, swelling of the gums, mobility of the teeth, and even pus in some cases. It is strongly suggested that if you experience anything unusual on your teeth after root canal surgery, visit the dentist at once even if you’re not experiencing any pain. On the other hand, a successful root canal treatment is typically safe from these symptoms.

How to reduce tooth pain after a root canal?

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer through the pain of root canal after surgery. The pain can be minimized to the point where it becomes bearable through the use of different methods. Following are some techniques you can try out:

  • Painkillers are obviously the first thing you can try. Consult your dentist as to the type of medications you can use and how often. This should help numb the pain as the root canal goes through the healing process.
  • Avoid food items that are very hot or very cold. Instead, opt for something in between, focusing on soft food items or soup so that you won’t have to chew on anything.
  • Brush and floss as usual, but extreme care is strongly suggested. Inquire as to whether you can use a mouthwash to replace brushing for oral care.
  • Lastly, don’t play with your teeth! You might be compelled to constantly run your tongue over it, but resist the temptation!