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Dentistry/Pain and metalic taste after root canal


QUESTION: Hello!  I had a root canal (my first) 2 days ago due to continued cold sensitivity in a tooth.  The root canal went "perfectly" according to the endodontist.  The throbbing has subsided, but I know have a strong metalic taste in my mouth and I get a sharp shooting pain if I accidently touch the tooth with my tongue.  

Is a metalic taste and continued tooth pain considered normal after a root canal?

Thank you!

ANSWER: Hi Michelle,

I'm sorry you're having this go on. Neither of your symptoms are normal, but we do sometimes see both. If a silver filling was placed in the tooth after the root canal, that may be the cause of the metallic taste and should stop in a day or two. Touching your tooth with your tongue may mean that the tooth bite needs to be adjusted. Hold your teeth firmly together and slide from side to side. Now "clack" your teeth together. If any of that cause pain, your bite is high and needs adjustment. If these things aren't happening, then you need to call your dentist, explain what is going on and ask for help...even though it's the weekend, still call, since things could get worse rather than better.

Hope this helps.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your quick reply!  My bite feels fine and my tongue does not touch my tooth under normal circumstances.  But when I unconsciously touch my tooth with my tongue, that causes pain, similar to the pain I get with cold water.  And cold water still hurts as well!  As the day has gone on, even saliva is beginning to hurt, as though the tooth is more sensitive now than it was before.

I'll call their office and see if they have an after hours number.  Thank you!

Good morning Michelle,

You are more than welcome. Glad I could be of some help. Your follow up concerns me a bit. You say cold water still hurts the tooth. The bad news is that another tooth is involved. Once a root canal is done, no matter whether it is done well or poorly, the tooth will no longer feel cold because the connection between the cold source and the nerve at the end of the tooth has been replaced by the root canal filling. It is simply impossible for the tooth to transmit the cold sensation to the end of the tooth.

Hopefully you got an emergency number and will be able to get some relief today.

Good luck!

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD


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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD


I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.


25 years practicing as a specialist

American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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