Dental patients are often surprised when they have discomfort following a root canal because, once completed, no living tissue remains inside the tooth. Since that’s the case, how could the tooth cause the patient any distress?
One of the most common causes of post-root canal tooth pain is inflammation, which can be caused by the procedure itself or because the infection caused the tooth ligament to become swollen.
One source of tooth pain after root canal are the nerve endings within the ligaments that attach the tooth to the jawbone. Although the tooth itself is “dead,” the nerve endings are not. Thankfully, this nerve pain usually passes within a few days after root canal.
Another cause of dental pain following a root canal can be a poor “bite.” If a patient bites down (with nothing in the mouth, such as food), and the tooth in which a root canal was performed is painful, the bite must be corrected.
Last, two other causes of pain post-root canal are infection or a fracture of the root. Antibiotics can address a persistent infection but fracture of the tooth and/or the tooth root often leads to extraction of that tooth.