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Ask Dr. Katz Your Own Question
Dr. Katz
Dr. Katz, Dentist - DDS
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 3569
Experience:  Dentist and Anesthesiologist for 37 years.Anesthesiology Fellow-Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.Evaluator for Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners.
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I have a tooth #15 with a root canal that is sensitive to

Customer Question

I have a tooth #15 with a root canal that is sensitive to temperature, but not sensitive to pressure .... I woke up with the corresponding lower molar now aching and sensitive to pressure .....
JA: How long have you been dealing with this? Any other symptoms?
Customer: the upper tooth #15 started sunday night.... I went to see my dentist yesterday and he referred me to an endontist for a root canal .... when i went to bed last night my bottom tooth was fine ...
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the dentist should know?
Customer: nothing related to teeth per se.... the doctor prescribed some pain medicine and antibiotics
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 2 months ago.

Root canaled teeth are unable to transmit any pain to temperature because there is no nerve in the tooth that is capable of carrying that signal. If you are having pain to temperature in a root canaled tooth,the problem is with your bite.This is further confirmed by the fact that your opposing tooth is hurting.The pain is actually coming from the periodontal ligament that surrounds the tooth. This ligament is innervated through the bone and is a different nerve source than the tooth's nerve source. A simple bite adjustment by buffing the filling or cusp of the tooth in question should get you some immediate relief. If you are a grinder and these teeth are in hyper occlusion, the pain gets worse. If you have no swelling,the most likely cause is your bite.It is an easy fix.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
clarification : With respect to the root canaled tooth, it is sensitive to temperature, meaning if i eat or drink something hot the tooth begins to ache. The indication I got from my dentist was that the root canal probably has to be re-done... So if you are saying that the root canaled tooth can't transit any pain then why does the root canaled tooth immediately start to ache, when it is exposed to hot or cold, but it doesn't ache at all when biting or chewing on food that is room temperature?
Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 2 months ago.

If the root canal was done by an endodontist,it is highly unlikely that there is any nerve tissue still inside of the tooth.It is their job and their only job ,to do root canals. If there is pain to hot and cold,it has to be coming from the ligament around the tooth. A root canaled tooth is physiologically incapable of transmitting pain to temperature.

Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 2 months ago.

There is some excursion of your lower jaw that is hitting this tooth abnormally.

Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 2 months ago.

Do you have any missing teeth that have not been replaced? Do you grind or clench your teeth?