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Dentistry/Root Canal sensitivity


For the past few days, I have been experiencing minor sensitivity in a tooth that has had a root canal and retreatment - the dentist who did it the first time did not follow the curve of the root, so he missed some of the pulp and it had to be retreated by an endodontist who did fix the issue.  It has been approximately two and a half to three years since retreatment and no issues have been present before this.  Additionally, I have TMJ and tend to clench/grind, especially at night.  Since the sensitivity started, I have been more adamant about wearing my night guard.

The tooth in question is a molar on the bottom left hand side, second from the back.  I wouldn't say that it is painful, there's just a bit of tenderness or irritation - no heat/cold sensitivity or any other symptoms present.  It tends to be a bit more irritated after I chew repeatedly on that side (harder foods, such as apples).  The tenderness is sporadic.  The tooth behind it is on my dentist's 'watch' list, as it is a deeper filling and could possibly need to be treated with a root canal in the future.

I haven't visited a dentist yet, as we just moved and I haven't found one in our area, but would like to get a general opinion - does this sound like a failed root canal?  Or could the tooth next to it be causing issues?  And if this is what it ends up being, what would your recommended course of treatment be?  I'd love to avoid extraction/implant, but want to make sure I'm doing what is best.

Thank you for your time.

Kaylan - It is a little difficult for me to diagnose your discomfort without examining you.  An early failure of a root canal treatment does not necessarily produce excessive pain, but it could be sore sporadically.  With the prior evaluation, that the tooth behind could eventually have a problem, it could also be the cause.  At this point your best approach would be to get an evaluation.  That could be done by a good dentist, or better yet, have yourself evaluated by an endodontist.  

I wish I could be more definitive, but your symptoms really do not tell the whole story.  I hope it is nothing, but getting it evaluated now might prevent a problem that could force loosing a tooth.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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