Oral pain is an indication that something is wrong. There are all kinds of reasons you might experience pain in your mouth, from trauma, to cavities, to infections. In some cases, the pulp or the nerve of the tooth can become affected in some way, such as when an infection is present. In such cases, a root canal may be necessary.
This procedure is designed to remove any infected tissue and then fill in the empty space so that no further infection can take root, so to speak. With all of this accomplished, you might expect smooth sailing. However, it is not uncommon to experience some discomfort even after a root canal has been performed. Why does this happen and what can you do about it?
During a root canal, infected tissue, including the nerve, is removed, but nerves around the tooth may continue to experience some irritation and discomfort following the root canal. This could be related to several factors.
For one thing, infection may extend beyond the tooth, affecting surrounding jawbone and tissue. Even after the root canal procedure clears away infection, surrounding nerves may continue to experience some irritation and inflammation as the area heals.
The procedure itself could also cause swelling and irritation to surrounding areas, which may last for several days or weeks following the root canal. During the process of cleaning out infected tissue, tools may come into contact with surrounding areas, and contact is also possible when filling material is injected into the tooth.
These types of contact may also cause irritation for a short time following the root canal. Once swelling goes down and the infection clears completely, any lingering discomfort should be abated.
Following a root canal, you may need filling material in the tooth to compensate for the infected tissue that has been removed, in order to eliminate the risk of further infection. In some cases, patients may need a crown, as well.
In each case, the additional materials may add to the height or weight of the tooth and affect your regular bite pattern. Until this is corrected, you may feel some discomfort, especially when chewing.
If any pain or discomfort persists for an extended period of time following your root canal, you need to speak with your dentist. With a follow-up appointment you should be able to pinpoint the cause and address it to alleviate any lingering pain.