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How many days should I have pain after a repeat root canal?

I regret agreeing to root canal treatment from my new dentist. I went for an exam, cleaning, and Zoom whitening consultation. The dentist told me that an old filling in an upper left molar was cracked, and I had decay beneath it. I had no problems with the tooth, but the root canal was traumatic and took three visits. My dentist completed the root canal in March, but the tooth still hurt. My dentist referred me to an endodontist who reviewed my x-ray and said my dentist might have missed a canal. The endodontist repeated the root canal and found no untreated canals. She said that the tooth would hurt for a few days. Now, almost six days later, I’ve had intense pain, and it is only a little better today. I am worried that I am going to lose the tooth. I regret seeing this dentist. All I wanted was clean and white teeth. Why is my tooth still hurting? Thank you. Aleksandr from IL


Thank you for your question. Root canal failure is not determined by the length of time you feel discomfort. But if the pain is even improving slowly, it is a good indication that your tooth may be healing.

How Long Should a Tooth Hurt After Repeat Root Canal Treatment?

After root canal treatment, some patients feel no pain at all. But others can expect to feel tenderness and discomfort for a few days. Tissue inflammation around tooth roots often causes irritation and pain. Previous infection or an endodontist’s file—used to clean the canals—can irritate your tooth.

Not Zoom but Opalescence Boost in-office whitening applied to a patient's teeth
Prevent excessive sensitivity with Zoom whitening. Wait until your tooth heals fully.

Your endodontist said that your tooth would hurt for a few days, so your discomfort is as she predicted. You did not mention increased pain or swelling, so it seems that the second root canal succeeded. Although your dentist did not miss any canals, perhaps he did not seal the end of the tooth root properly. If so, the pain would linger.

Professional-strength bleaching gel, like Zoom, can cause some irritation to healthy teeth. So be patient with starting Zoom treatment. After two or three days, if your tooth does not improve any or if it gets worse, call your endodontist. Your endodontist will let you know when it is safe to do so.


Thomas J. Goebel, DDS of Moline, IL, sponsors this post.

Can I get dental implants with advanced gum disease?

I have advanced gum disease and lost 10 teeth. I fear that I am going to need all my teeth pulled and replaced with dentures or something else. Although I neglected my health, the thought of wearing dentures is unsettling. I’m 52 years old and have an active life. I read about dental implants. With advanced gum disease, is it possible to get implants instead of dentures? Thank you. Danielle from Chicago.


Thank you for your question.

Dental implants are the most effective solution for replacing missing teeth. Removable complete dentures are better than having all your teeth missing, but your chewing efficiency will reduce by at least 50%. Dentures move and slip around, making it difficult to chew well.

As you may have read, dental implants are placed in your jawbone to anchor individual teeth or a denture. Implants have several advantages:

  • Help you chew and eat normally
  • Preserve your jawbone and prevent shrinkage
  • Prevent a denture from shifting around in your mouth

Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Implant overdenture - snap-on denture with the denture hovering above the implants
A snap-on denture is an implant overdenture with just two implants

If you are in good physical and oral health, you may be a good candidate for dental implants. Your history of advanced gum disease may increase the risk of unsuccessful implant surgery. And if you’ve already had jawbone loss, an implant dentist or oral surgeon will need to graft bone to anchor the implants.

Schedule a consultation with a skilled implant dentist. But you will need an exam and a 3-D CT scan for the dentist to examine your bone structure and oral anatomy. The dentist will also assess your health history. Afterward, the dentist will explain your treatment options.

Dr. Thomas J. Goebel, a family dentist in Moline, IL, sponsors this post. Dr. Goebel works closely with an oral surgeon or periodontist for implant surgery.

I want to replace my twice-broken flipper with a dental implant

Although I thought it was best to get a partial denture instead of a dental implant, I am disappointed with my dentist. I paid my dentist to extract my tooth and give me a partial denture. After I went for the appointment, he said he changed his mind and wanted to try a root canal instead. But that did not work, so I needed an extraction anyway. I wore a temporary flipper partial, and it broke twice. My dentist is charging me for the root canal, extraction, and temporary flippers. He claims that I am at fault for breaking the flippers, but I know they were cheap. I want a refund and dental implants. But I do not understand the strategy for getting my lying dentist to cooperate. Before I ask for my dental records and switch to a new dentist, can you help? – Thank you. Kraig from PA


We are sorry to hear about the nightmare with your dentist. We recommend that you speak candidly with your dentist and list your concerns about what your dentist said he would do versus what happened.

Your dentist cannot charge you for two broken dental flippers and falsely claim that you are at fault, so don’t worry about that.

When you speak to your dentist, explain what action you will take if you do not get a refund:

  • Contact your insurance company (if applicable) – Your dental insurance company wants to know if a dentist charges them for work the dentist did not complete. But they also want to know if an in-network provider is dishonest.
  • Report the issue to the state dental board – Although the state dental board might not penalize your dentist, they will contact him to investigate the matter. Your dentist does not want to build a negative reputation with the state dental board.
  • Hire an attorney – A dental malpractice attorney will be happy to contact your dentist, request a refund, and explain the what will happen if your dentist fails to cooperate.
  • Leave negative online reviews – Particularly, dentists who have positive online reviews are concerned about their reputation. Many patients read reviews before choosing a new dentist. So your dentist might respond to your promise to write detailed negative reviews.

Finding a Dentist for Implants

Diagram of three phases of a dental implant: separate compoonent, implant screw in the bone, and the crown attached
Select your implant dentist carefully

Look for a dentist who is skilled in implant placement, restoration, or both. And ensure the dentist has advanced cosmetic dentistry training. Some dentists refer patients to an oral surgeon or periodontist for implant surgery. After a healing period, the dentist will restore your implant with a natural-looking crown. But the dentist must be skilled in cosmetic dentistry to match the crown to your natural teeth. Schedule a consultation with two dentists before you choose a provider so you can discuss your options.

Best wishes for a speedy resolution.

Thomas J. Goebel, DDS of Moline, IL, sponsors this post.