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

Posted by AllSmiles

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.