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Post Root Canal Pain
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Post Root Canal Pain

I had a root canal four days ago.  I had come to the dentist two weeks before that with pain on the left side of my mouth, both upper and lower, my jaw, my ear, everywhere on the left side.  They took some x-rays, said they were inconclusive, prescribed some antibiotics and asked to see me in a week.  Went back, more x-rays, and they decided it was my back bottom tooth, which had been filled previously with a really deep cavity that they were worried about at the time.  They scheduled me for over a month later for the root canal.  The pain was so severe five days ago that it was waking me up and keeping me up at night and nothing over-the-counter was helping the pain.  They moved up the procedure.  

When they did the root canal, they put the formaldehyde-type stuff in the tooth and filled it with a temporary filling.  Once the novocaine wore up, I immediately had pain.  I took the pain pills i was prescribed and went on.  Four days later I still have pain and it hurts really bad to chew on that tooth (or it could be the one in front of it that had a crown put on about 2 months ago, I'm really  not sure).  They gave me another round (3rd one) of antibiotics and more pain pills and told me everything looks normal when I went back with more pain two days ago.  However, they didn't take any more x-rays and I'm concerned I'm still having complications.  Could there be another problem or another bad tooth?  I feel like something's not right, but I'm not sure.  Any insight would be appreciated!
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How did they eventually decide it was your back tooth that was the problem?   Did they test it to make sure or just assume it must be the back one because of the deep cavity?   If it is the crowned tooth next to the back tooth that is really the problem, the x-rays can't penetrate a crown to see what's happening inside the tooth.   However if it is the back tooth that is causing the pain, what I've found out is that bottom molars don't seem to take too kindly to root canals!   In reading the posts on this forum it seems molars appear to have the most trouble getting over a root canal because a molar has more canals than any of the smaller teeth.   Four days isn't a long time for recovery on a root canalled molar.  I was told by a dentist that it's actually like a mini surgery and if the tooth is chewed on too quickly after the procedure it can cause it more grief.   He likened it to having surgery on any part of the body and not giving it enough time to get over the trauma before it's used again and again.    Some dentists even say not to chew on the affected tooth until the treatment is actually completed and has a permanent filling or crown on the tooth.   Have they finished the treatment or only half-way through?

First thing I think you need to do is insist the dentist determines which tooth is actually the real problem.   Good luck and let me know how you get on.
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They decided it was the back tooth by the sensitivity I had when they tapped on that tooth.  They tested the others as well.  I know it hasn't been that long, but the pain is getting to me mentally.  I was hurting for 2-3 weeks before the procedure and I really need relief.  I'm either in pain, or drugged up and it's affecting everything.  

About the chewing, I was avoiding it at first, but when I went back to the dentist two days after complaining about the pain, he said "It doesn't hurt to chew on it, does it?" So I said I had been avoiding chewing there, but I decided to try it after he made that comment.  Right now, it still has the medicine in the tooth with a temporary filling.  I will go back for the permanent filling in a few weeks and the crown after that.  When he did the procedure, he said the nerve was definitely dying and part of the nerve had no blood supply.  I am concerned that maybe the infection was so bad it could have spread.  This is getting to be too much for me to handle.  I need to get this problem solved so I can actually get work done while I'm at work and not be a zombie all the time.
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530183_tn?1213087279
I hear what you're saying about the pain.   It affects your whole quality of life.  And it's such an isolated pain as well.   I've lived with it for the last few weeks after the first stage of a redo on a root canal on a bottom molar that had only had a full root canal done on it earlier in the year and it just refused to settle down.  

So 6 weeks ago off to the endodontist I went.  Yay for me.   After the first 3 weeks of his first stage of treatment, I was in so much pain that I was ready to have my husband rip the tooth out with some of his tools.    And then WHAM, at the third week mark, I suddenly realized I had gone through a whole day without needing to take any painkillers.   You just have to hang on for that day and I know it's the easiest thing to say, but when you're the one in pain it's SO hard.  It gets to you emotionally and all you feel like doing is crying (unless you're a man of course).   People would say to me to be patient and I'd feel like smacking them in the head!   BUT, the tooth did settle down.  It's been six weeks now and it's still settling down, still has the odd aching sensation which comes and goes but nothing that I need to take a painkiller for.  The endo doesn't want to complete the final stage of treatment until 3 months has passed.   I'm saying all this because sometimes it's just a time factor and if the pain is too great to wait it out, then the only other option is extraction.   You could get a second opinion too if you were not satisfied with your regular dentist.   They're only human after all.

Regarding your worry about the infection having spread, if your dentist is a good one then he would have cleaned all the diseased pulp out of the tooth and medicated it enough to destroy any bad bacteria.   The medication has to have time to work its magic and heal the tooth from the inside.   I'm no expert but after having had four root canals, it sounds like your tooth has to settle after the first stage.   And for me it's always been the molars that have caused the most pain and distress.   Sometimes they have to widen the canals with the drill to fill the canals with the gutta percha material.    This can contribute to a heap of pain afterwards because all the nerves around that area have to get over the beating they've taken.  Not sure if this was the case with your tooth or not.

I do sympathize with you.   If I was you I wouldn't even try to chew on that tooth for a little while, just so it can have a rest from having the amount of pressure put on it that chewing causes.    Did the dentist also check your bite and the occlusion between the tooth and the teeth above it when the temporary filling was put on?  I know that this can also cause pain if it hasn't been done properly, and the teeth above it keep hitting it if the filling is even slightly too high.

I really hope you start feeling better soon.   Please keep me updated if you want to....I'd like to know how you get on.
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