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Jewel Simpson, DDS
Jewel Simpson, DDS, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 2
Experience:  DDS, UCLA School of Dentistry, 1973, 35 years of private practice, 10 years of holistic private prac
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Pain in tooth after root canal

Customer Question

I had a root canal several years ago but failed to get a crown due to the expense. I have had pain off and on for about a year and I went back to my endodontist who said the tooth had healed wonderfully but there was some swelling on my gums that was probably causing the pain and not the tooth itself. He said I should be fine to put a crown on the tooth. The pain absolutely feels like it is coming from the tooth! Today, I can't even bite down on that tooth at all. I have taken several OTC pain meds and it is not helping at all. My question is, is this normal? Will putting a crown on this tooth help at all with the pain?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Jewel Simpson, DDS replied 6 years ago.

Dear Rayna,

Generally, a tooth should have a crown placed after a root canal is done. This is because the tooth needed a root canal in the first place because of a large cavity and there is not enough tooth to hold a filling. In addition, after a root canal, the tooth becomes very brittle and is inclined to break. Sometimes a small piece breaks off and a crown can still be done. Sometimes a large piece breaks off below the gum or the tooth cracks below the gum and the tooth has to be extracted.

If you had a filling placed in the tooth after the root canal and the tooth still hurts, you should:

--Get a second opinion from another dentist, preferably a specialist in root canals, an endodontist. He or she will take another x-ray and tell you if the root canal has indeed healed well.

--Find out if the tooth is cracked. You can test this yourself by biting down on a popsicle stick or wooden chop stick placed on only the painful tooth. If the tooth gives a sharp, quick stab of pain that goes away when you stop biting, it is probably cracked. If the crack stops above the gum, a crown may help. If the crack goes below the gum, the tooth has to be extracted. It is difficult for any dentist to tell how deep a crack goes. Some specialists have a small camera that can go between the gum and the tooth to follow the crack and see where it stops. Obviously, this is an expensive procedure.

If the dentist who did the root canal is not a specialist (endodontist), I would definetely seek a second opinion as to the quality and healing of the existing root canal. If the root canal missed part of the nerve or the root canal filling goes beyond the root, the root canal may be a candidate for a redo. This costs about $1000. A crown will cost about $800. An extraction will cost between $60 and $200, depending on the condition of the tooth. After an extraction, the tooth must be replaced, which will run into thousands of dollars. The sooner you get it taken care of, the greater chance that you can save the tooth.

I hope this helps you. If you have further questions after you see a dentist, contact me again.

Sincerely, XXXXX

Jewel Simpson, DDS, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 2
Experience: DDS, UCLA School of Dentistry, 1973, 35 years of private practice, 10 years of holistic private prac
Jewel Simpson, DDS and other Dental Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Is it your opinion that I should go ahead with the crown? My endodontist said that may help with the pain since it healed so nicely. I am really concerned with spending that much money just to end up losing the tooth anyway. The pain is really bad today! Thank you so much!

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