If your dentist recommended that you have a root canal as a means to treat a toothache you've been struggling with, you may be looking forward to the relief that you'll feel when it's over. That can make it even more frustrating if you find yourself in pain after your root canal is finished. While most root canals will ease or eliminate your pain, there are several instances where you may find yourself in pain even after the procedure is finished. Here's a look at some of the causes of pain after a root canal and what can be done about them.
Infection – if the bone around the root is still affected by some bacteria, it can lead to some inflammation and pain. This discomfort will typically resolve on its own over time. After all, without the root in place, there's no actual source of infection for the bacteria to feed on. If you want to speed up the process, a dentist like those at Pinon Hills Dental can prescribe an antibiotic to clear out any residual bacteria that may be causing discomfort.
Overfill – Another potential cause of pain after a root canal is an overfilled canal. This is typically caused by excess filling material being forced out of the root tip. If there's room for that excess material to go, you won't experience much discomfort, but if the area is compact and there's no space for it to go, you're likely to feel some pain. If you have a lot of filling material seeping out, it can actually cause serious inflammation in the bone and gum area. This can last for several weeks before you get relief. In other cases, you may need to have some of the filling surgically removed.
Nerves – If the dentist who did the root canal missed a canal in the process, that's going to leave a nerve behind. The canals are very small, and can be extremely difficult to detect sometimes, which results in missing a canal sometimes. If this happens, you may have a small portion of nerve left behind that can permit bacteria to thrive. If your tooth is sensitive to pressure, hot and cold after the root canal, you should call your dentist to see about having the procedure repeated.
As you can see, there are several causes of residual pain after a root canal. If you're experiencing discomfort beyond what your dentist has said to expect, call and ask about your symptoms. He or she may want to see you to be sure that everything is healing correctly.