Hi Doc. Two days ago, I had a tooth that was sore. I recognized thus symptom and called my dentist. Due to it being about a week before I can see him, he called me in a prescription for keflex. The tooth is inflamed. I'm taking ibuprofin, 600mg every 6 hours.This tooth had a root canal about 6 years ago and has been sore since then but never been a full fledged toothache. Can the same tooth require another root canal years later?

Sam -  occasionally some living bacteria remains within the nerve canal or in the ligament surrounding the tooth and holding it to bone.  These bacteria can die off eventually, but sometimes they linger and break out at times of low resistance.  If this is the situation, root canal redo might be necessary or the dentist can send you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a procedure called an apicoectomy to clean out the end of the root and the tissue surrounding it.

So use the antibiotic now, begin warm salt water rinses a few times a day for a minute or so.  this will help to calm the infection.  The dentist should see you right after the holiday and correct the problem.


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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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