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Why Does My Tooth Hurt After a Root Canal?

April 8, 2014

A common question we usually encounter after a root canal is, “Why does my tooth hurt after a root canal?”

Why Does My Tooth Hurt After a Root Canal?

It is normal to experience some pain for a few days after a root canal. The tooth itself cannot "hurt", but the surrounding tissue can. Here are some reasons why your tooth may hurt after a root canal:

  1. Nerve fibers associated with ligaments surrounding the bone around the tooth still receive stimulation. This causes pain. Remember that a completed successful root canal has no pulp inside a tooth anymore – so no nerve endings or source of potential bacteria is present.
  2. Inflammation of the periapical tissues. This maybe due to over instrumentation during the procedure but usually resolves itself given enough time,
  3. A high bite. If a patient bites down, with no food in their mouth and their root canaled tooth hurts, then the bite should be adjusted. A dentist can easily correct this.
  4. Reinfection or a root fracture. If a root canal is completed, but an infection still is present around the periapical area (concentration of fluid at the tip of the root) then a retreatment may be indicated especially if significant time has gone by without a resolution of the infection. Sometimes an infection can be caused by a fracture of the tooth in question and in that case the tooth may require extraction.
  5. Phantom pain. It is also possible that pain is due to a sensitization of a nerve ganglion. Some of these patients can have pain even after the offending tooth is removed.


If you are still experiencing a toothache or pain for longer than a few days, you should contact your dentist right away. You should also let your dentist know if you are feeling pressure around your tooth or in your jaw.

Root Canals: Exploring Alternatives

Sometimes a root canal is the only way to save a tooth. At Indianapolis Dentistry Clinic, Dr. Reese exhausts every possible means to save a tooth naturally, even having root canal alternative options through biomimetic dentistry. Dr. Reese strives to conserve the tooth structure with biocompatible materials and techniques that mimic what nature intended. This could help avoid procedures like root canals and the loss of dental tissue. These are all in part of his clinic’s goal of practicing biocompatible dentistry – helping you reach your wellness goals through optimum dental health.

Indianapolis Dentistry is located just north of Greenwood, Indiana in Southport, just five minutes south of I-465 on US 31 between I-65 and Highway 37. Call 317-882-0228 for an appointment now!