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I had a root canal. Why does my tooth still hurt?

Persistent pain following root canal (endodontic) treatment can be discouraging. Anywhere between 5% and 15% of patients will experience a flare-up of pain following a root canal. The good news is that the pain is usually not a sign of a significant problem.

When a tooth requires a root canal, there is commonly inflammation and/or damage to the bone and tissues surrounding the tooth. Like any other part of the body, this damage takes time to heal. During that healing phase, it is not uncommon to get short flare-ups of pain. For most people, this pain can be treated effectively with short-term oral analgesics like Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol®).

If your pain persists for more than about a week or does not respond to pain medication, you should have your tooth re-evaluated by a dentist. Common and easily fixed findings would be a recurrent infection that could be treated with antibiotics, or the tooth being ”high”. Severe or prolonged pain may indicate something more significant going on within the tooth, In these cases evaluation with a Cone Beam Computed Tomography scan (Cone Beam CT or CBCT), like the one we have here at Go Dental, is recommended. These 3-dimensional x-ray images can show missed canals, cracks, or other pathology that traditional x-rays cannot show. We are constantly amazed at how things that are invisible on a traditional x-ray are obvious on CBCT.

The most important thing to do, though, is to communicate with your dentist. Here at Go Dental - Valencia Dentist, we are always willing and happy to take the time to discuss your concerns. We would much rather take a few minutes to tell you everything is okay than have you walk around for weeks with something we could fix.

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