Around three and half years ago, I had a tooth that needed to have a root canal and crown. Now, I’m experiencing pain with this tooth but my dentist says the root canal looks good. The dentist did not inform me of any cracks in the tooth so I’m not sure if that’s the problem or if I will lose my tooth. Also, the dentist said my tooth might need a new crown. I think the crown looks good and I don’t see any problems. What do you think?
– Brenda from Oklahoma
There may be many reasons why you’re experiencing discomfort with your tooth that has had a root canal and crown. One possibility for the pain you’re feeling is that the crown may be placed too high and it may need to be adjusted. If you’re biting hard on a crown tooth and it’s seated too high it can cause the tooth to ache even with a root canal. It’s important your bite be checked.
Did your dentist study your bite to see if the tooth needed adjustments? If not, have them check to see if it needs to be adjusted. If this isn’t the problem, it may be that you may grind or clench your teeth at night when you sleep and may not be aware of the issue.
Clenching and grinding can also cause teeth to hurt. Get your dentist to check and see if there are signs of grinding or clenching. If you have this issue, the dentist should create a night guard for you to protect your teeth and gums. There is a possibility the tooth has a crack within the root, however it is difficult to diagnosis. To confirm this, you will want to have a consultation with an endodontist who specializes in root canal treatments and would give you a better indication if the tooth actually has a crack or not. If your tooth has a crack, it would need to be extracted because there is no way to fix the tooth. If your tooth has to be removed, you have the option of getting a dental implant or dental bridge to replace your missing tooth.
Reasons why a root canal procedure may fail and cause discomfort:
■Sealers used to coat the filling material may wash out, creating a gap within the root canal, therefore causing infection
■If gaps are left at the base of the root and not filled properly, the tooth gets contaminated with bacteria which infects the tooth again
■If the tooth had multiple canals and exit points a spot may be missed and infection can set in
■If the root has small fractures the tooth may get contaminated with bacteria, causing infection which will lead to extraction
■If the tooth is not restored with a properly fitted dental crown then contamination may occur
■Inadequate cleaning, reshaping, or a lack of aseptic techniques of the root may cause root canal failure
As was mentioned before, there are multiple reasons why you’re having pain in your tooth. You should consult your dentist to determine if the bite is too high or to see if you have issues with grinding or clenching. These are two very common reasons for root canal pain. If your issue isn’t resolved, we advise you to see an endodentist who will inform you whether the tooth is re-infected and needs to be retreated or if the root is cracked and the tooth needs extraction.
For more information about Dr. Noah, visit Region Dental.