A man sick with a toothache and a hand holding on the cheek

This is Why Your Tooth Still Hurts After a Root Canal

If I had a root canal, why does my tooth still hurt?

After you get a root canal, you’re not supposed to have any living nerve tissue inside the tooth.

So why are you still experiencing pain or discomfort?

To start, it’s important to realize that there are still nerve endings in the ligaments that attach your tooth to the surrounding bone. These ligaments have nerve fibre associated with them, making it possible for you to still feel pain.

What causes pain after a root canal?

These are some of the most common factors that lead to pain after getting a root canal.


This could be a result of either irritation of the tissues during the procedure or extra fibre in the root. Sometimes the files your dentist uses to clean out your tooth roots go slightly beyond the end of the tooth, causing bacteria to be injected at the tip of the root or temporary damage to the ligaments. You can rest assured knowing that this inflammation usually resolves itself over time.

A high bite

If you bite down without food in your mouth and you experience pain in the treated tooth, then your bite should be adjusted by your dentist. Teeth that have recently undergone root canals should not be in a heavy bite.

Continued infection or root fracture

If you recently had a root canal but there is still infection around the end of the tooth roots, you may need to be retreated, especially if a significant amount of time has gone by with no progress.

Infections are sometimes caused by a fracture of the tooth in question. In this case, there is likely nothing your dentist can do beyond extracting it.

‘Phantom’ pain

You’ve probably heard of phantom limb pain, but did you know that there is a rare phenomenon that can cause you to feel pain due to a sensitization of a nerve ganglion? Some patients experience it after the offending tooth is removed.

Where can I get root canal help in Ottawa?

Root canals can be complex. If you’re looking for someone to help you understand what happens during and after this type of treatment, reach out to Dr. Andrea Stevens today. She and her team are available to answer any of your questions and make sure that you know all of your options.

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