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Dentistry/Post root canal pain


QUESTION: Hello, I have had 4 root canals done in the last ten years, 3 of them I had residual soreness/tenderness which I understand is normal due to the procedure.  I had my fourth root canal done this last Monday.  The procedure went smoothly with no complications, the following day everything was fine, I could eat, floss, and brush with no problems.  On the third day I got a very intense twinge almost like my tooth was being shocked.  this was followed by numerous other twinges which were extremely intense.  The next morning I brushed my teeth and the twinges started again, I immediately went to the dental clinic and they took a look at it and said told me to take ibuprofen and could get me in next Friday to take a closer look at it. Is this normal, should I have to endure this for a week before they do something or look at it more in depth. They did the cold test on it which I felt nothing, then they tapped on it and I came flying out of the chair in intense pain.  Is there anything I can do to minimize these twinges, they last between 30 and 45 minutes not constant just randomly.  Any advice/insight would be greatly appreciated and I thank you for your time.

ANSWER: Hi Christopher,

Before I try to help here, please do something for me. Hold your teeth together and grind from side to side. Now "clack" your teeth together. Do either of these cause your teeth to hurt or cause the twinge you are feeling?


Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

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QUESTION: No, that does not cause any pain.

Hi again Christopher,

Thanks for the test results. Since you can't hurt our teeth by chewing, that tells me your bite is OK. Therefore, most likely there is inflammation at the end of the tooth. Since it isn't constant pain, it is probably not an infection. As a result, using anti-inflammatories, like Ibuprofen, would be the best thing at this point. Sometimes dentists prescribe antibiotic just to be safe, but it really doesn't sound like an infection.

I find that Aleve, or the generic Naproxen, works better for my patients. I use the dosage, 2, 200mg tablets to start, then 1 tablet every 12 hours for 4-5 days or until your symptoms stop. You might want to give that a try.

Hope this helps stop your discomfort.

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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