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Dentistry/Dental pain continues 4 days after root canal


"Greetings Doctor, I had a root canal on my very back tooth before the wisdom tooth on the upper palate. Its now been 4 days since the root canal and I cannot sleep, even when I take 1000 mg of acetaminophen. The doctor guesses that perhaps the tooth needed to be ground down a bit more, so today he ground the tooth down and the pain is just as bad as ever.  Its not nerve pain in the sense that it doesn't respond to hot and cold, it just aches really badly. Is there anything my dentist can do to help? What should I do first thing tommorow?

I cannot take Ibuprofen or Naproxen so I am stuck with Aspirin.

Ive left two messages on my dentists machine since it is 3 am and even on 1000 mg aspirin I am unable to sleep and have a very annoying and painful ache in that tooth.

Hi James,

I'm sorry to hear all this is going on. Adjusting the bite is always a first step. If you "clack" your teeth together, does that hurt? If so, then the bite needs to be adjusted further. If that doesn't cause pain, then it may be that finishing the root canal started an sometimes happens. In that case, it would be prudent to start you on a course of antibiotics. Your dentist can prescribe them for you over the phone even on Sunday. You probably need a stronger pain killer as well he/she can also prescribe. Hopefully you will get a return phone call this morning.

I hope this helps. Hang in there. Things WILL get better.

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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