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Dentistry/Mild pain after root canal


QUESTION: Hi Dr. Backlund,
My daughter had a root canal (upper molar) done 3 years ago by an Endodontist.  After the root canal she always feel mild pain when she eat on it. She went back to have the endodotist recheck.  He found nothing wrong.  My daughter then went to two other Endodotists for evaluation.  The first Endodontist found nothing wrong either. The second Endodontist said was the next tooth (inner molar) has problem because was touched by her wisdom tooth.  Her Wisdom tooth was slanted. the Second Endodotist said the next tooth need to have root canal.  However, my daughter is very sure that the pain is come from the root canal tooth not the next tooth.  My daughter also has this wisdom tooth removed after that. Until now she still feel mild pain when she chew on it.  She has tendency of grinding teeth at night.  Any night she forgot to put on mouth guard, The pain is more the next morning.  Otherwise, the pain is mild and she always feel it. Please Advise.  Thank You!


ANSWER: Hi Karen,

Before I try to help here, can you tell me a little bit more about her pain? Any hot or cold sensitivity? Does she grind her teeth during the day? Does it ever ache when she has NOT been grinding?

Also, the 2nd endodontist...did he/she say there was any decay or destruction to the 2nd molar as a result of being touched by the wisdom tooth?


Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Dr. Backlund,
She only feel mild pain when she put pressure on it ( bite or chew).  No hot or cold sensitivity.  She does not grind her teeth during the day.  No ache any other time.

The 2nd endodontist say something about the nerve of the 2nd molar due to the widsdom tooth slightly touch the 2nd molar.  I'm not sure what he said about the nerve. But not the decay or destruction of the 2nd molar. Thanks!


Thanks for the information Karen,

Hot & cold sensitivity means the nerve (pulp) of the tooth is involved. Since your daughter doesn't have any of those symptoms and no decay in the back tooth, I would think that tooth was not part of the problem. However, that is a best guess since I can't examine her or see her x-rays.

Assuming the problem is coming from the tooth she feels is the issue, there are really two most likely causes. One would be a failing root canal. Another would be a crack or fracture in the tooth structure. Based on her symptoms and history of tooth grinding, I think that would be the most likely. You can check that yourself by having your daughter take a pencil erasure, place it on various places on the tooth, especially the points (cusps) of the teeth. Then bite firmly together, hold it for a second or two, then release QUICKLY. If she has any pain when she releases, there is a crack in the tooth.

If that turns out to be the problem, it can usually be fixed with a crown that will splint the tooth together and no longer have any movement when she chews. We usually advise patients to get a very good fitting, strong temporary crown made first and wear it for 2-3 months to make sure all symptoms go away. If all is well after that time, then get the permanent crown.
If it doesn't help, she may end up losing that tooth.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions. Just out of curiosity, I'd like to know what happens after she tries the erasure.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!

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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