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Dentistry/Pain for months following RCT


I had a root canal on my upper back molar 4 months ago; my dentist discovered I needed it when getting a filling done.  Although he  said he believes the treatment to be successful, I have been back three times because of constant pain.  I grind my teeth, and although I wear a night guard, he thought it needed replacing (he has since changed his mind--I also perform daily massage exercises to help relieve the headaches I get from it).  We also discovered I had a hyper occlusion from the treatment, but this has since been rectified.   Yet, I am still in pain; it's not the same as before the treatment, but a constant, tender, bruised feeling.  I cannot chew on that side, and I get a small jolt whenever the molar hits the bottom one.  A new development is a sensitivity to cold weather; being outside too long causes the pain to increase.  The pain is not directly in my tooth, but more directly around it and up towards the cheekbone and towards my ear. My dentist believes it is all down to the grinding.

I can't find any information online about the negative effects bruxism has on healing after a root canal.  I don't know if this is normal for people in my situation, or if something has gone wrong with the procedure.  Can you tell me if this sounds normal or if I should make yet another appointment with my dentist?  

Many thanks

There is not a lot I can tell you without seeing you. No, that is not a normal experience. Eliminating hyperocclusion as a possibility is simple, you simply adjust (grind down) the tooth so it does not hit the opposing tooth. Try a simple experiment. Grind your teeth every which way and see if that causes the discomfort. If it does, have him adjust it properly. If it doesn't, then the cause is something else, most likely either another tooth or residual pulp in the tooth he treated, meaning you will need to have the tooth retreated. I would suggest finding an endodontist if that is the case.


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Frederick R. Liewehr DDS, MS, FICD


I can answer your questions about root canal therapy in general. PLEASE DO NOT ask me to diagnose your particular problems or recommend treatment as I cannot do this without examining you and seeing your x-rays.


I am a Board-certified endodontist, former university department Chairman, teach dental residents, and have a private practice.


J of Endodontics, Endodontics and Dental Traumatology, O,O,O, Military Medicine, Medical Bulletin, J of Dental Education

DDS, MS (Oral Biology), certificate in Endodontics

Awards and Honors
Surgeon General's "A" Designator, Fellowship ICD, Order of Military Medical Merit

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