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Ask Dr. George McKee Your Own Question
Dr. George McKee
Dr. George McKee, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 1396
Experience:  Licensed dentist with 30 years clinical experience in general practice and cosmetic reconstruction.
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Why do I still have pain after a root canal

Resolved Question:

I had a root canal done a few weeks ago. Ever since I've had severe pain. The specialist who finished the RC can't find anything, no infection, no swelling, etc. could this pain be from a nerve somewhere in my jaw? The pain is excrutiating and barely contained with pain meds.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 8 years ago.
HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on Just Answer. The other Experts and I are working on your answer. By the way, it would help us to know:

Which tooth had the root canal? Upper, lower, front back? Is your pain confined to just the tooth that had the root canal, or does it radiate beyond that?. Does anything make the pain worse? Hot, cold, biting on the tooth, bending over or laying down?

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Dr. George McKee's Post: The tooth is lower left side, not a molar I guess like the eye tooth. It is confined just to that tooth. The molar behind it is an implant so no pain there. It is somewhat cold sensitive; however, it doesn't take cold to set it off it will just start throbbing then fierce pain for no reason.
Thank you for any help you can give. Is it possible it's a nerve?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Dr. George McKee's Post: thank you for this information. My only concern is that my endodontist has gone back in and treated an extra canal that my original dentist couldn't see or treat.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Dr. George McKee's Post: thank you for the information. Unfortunately, my endodontist did go back in last week and treated an extra canal my dentist couldn't treat/see. Just saw my endodontist this morning and he is at a loss too. Reading so much online that's why I'm thinking a possible nerve.
Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 8 years ago.

Dear ,

Thanks for the additional information. If you are certain that you are feeling cold on this exact tooth, then there has to still be some innervation on the tooth. Some tooth pain can be non specific and feel like it is coming from different teeth than the perceived one. To be certain,take a small ice cube and touch it to just the root canaled tooth and see if it reacts. If it does, there is yet another accessory canal. If it doesn't react, then we have a different source for the pain.

Hopefully the endodontist tested your other teeth to determine if the pain is coming from an additional tooth. If this was done and no other tooth responded to the tests as being inflamed or dead, then this is a bit of a mystery.

The lower teeth each have their own individual nerves that connect to one large nerve that runs underneath the teeth. I can think of two possible scenarios that could cause the pain you describe if the other things I mentioned are not the cause.

1. During the root canal procedure, the a cleaning file was inadvertently pushed out the end of the tooth and into the main nerve that connects all your teeth. This main nerve is inflamed and not the nerve of the root canaled tooth, which no longer exists. If this is the case, the pain will gradually go away.

2. The pressure from filling the canals has cracked the root and it is split into two pieces. This will cause pain and will eventually will become infected and swollen.

I hope this gives you more insight into the pain your are still having. Please reply to my answer if you have any other feedback or questions.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
THank you so much for the information. I think it will be very helpful for me when I speak with my endodontist tomorrow. One last question, when you mention the pain will eventually go away, are we talking days or weeks. It has already been nine days with no lessening of the pain.

Again, thank you very much for your help!