Pain After Root Canal Filling - Is there a nerve trapped??
February 13, 2019 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Had a root canal done 2 weeks ago in a molar due to extensive pain. X-ray done didn't reveal anything but was told that due to periodontal disease there could be exposed nerves and so a root canal was done. During the 2 weeks I didn't feel any pain. Then I went to have the tooth filled permanently. Now I have pain in the tooth and stabbing pains in my eye. There's more.

The dentist who filled the tooth used a lot of force to get all the compounds (he used titanium and amalgam) in the tooth. Could he have pushed a nerve that runs through the tooth/gum to the eye? And if this is the case, is it treatable?

The tooth itself has thin walls - due to the drilling. I am concerned now that they will have to either extract it or go in again to clean it up if they left any root behind. X-ray done after the root canal apparently showed all was taken out.

Has anyone ever heard of a nerve being exposed or pushed up as a result of this type of procedure where there is both tooth and eye involvement? The pains come and go. The tooth pain is a dull ache which is intermittent, the eye is more of a stabbing pain.
posted by watercarrier to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
i have had several root canals and follow up procedures. even with the nerve gone, i still had pain after getting my filling and crown (did you get a crown? you should get a crown because your tooth is a lot weaker now). i had pain for about 2 weeks after the root canal and about 1.5 weeks after the filling/crown, but i am not allowed to take any types of nsaids or other pain relievers due to other health issues. they are using a lot of force, and maybe spacers, and other things which give your mouth area discomfort.

have you been using pain relievers? have you called the dentist/endodontist and asked? the eye thing is a bit weird to me, but all that face stuff is connected and close together, so who knows.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:27 AM on February 13, 2019

No crown as of yet and have called the endodontist.
posted by watercarrier at 11:32 AM on February 13, 2019

While it is possible that referred pain can radiate upward toward the eye, the thing that you are describing cannot/does not happen. I realize that you are speaking somewhat metaphorically about your own nerves, but, really, nerves don't work that way. They can't be 'pushed" anywhere by root canal therapy.

The procedure amputates the blood, nerve and connective tissue within the tooth at a point very close to where those things enter the tooth. The body then heals outside of the tooth itself, rendering the tooth "dead". The healing process can involve a fair amount of inflammation, and can refer pain in any direction, including toward your eye, but this should be temporary and should be manageable by anti-inflammatories.

There are also nerve fibers in the connective tissue around each tooth that will still respond to pressure, so even though the tooth has no feeling from within, there can still be awareness.

Each patient heals at a different rate, and 2 weeks will still fall well within the expected range, but it's still a good idea to connect with the dentist and ask for advice.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:33 AM on February 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Molars are hard spaces to fix with a root canal. I had a couple in same tooth after pain after first one. Eventually tooth was extracted, re-root canaled and re-implanted - with a crown. I still have some pain more than a year later - I think they drilled too deep and messed up the nerve. My dentist has adjusted my bite which has helped and may do more of that. (the re-implantation bit is unusual - the dentist who did that was South Korean trained and it's not unusual there he said). I don't have great answers -go back to the dentist to see if bite adjustment or something else can be done. My dentist said if I was having significant pain still he would send me for another CT scan to look for why.
posted by leslies at 11:35 AM on February 13, 2019

I once had a very stabby pain above a tooth after having a filling replaced, and what happened was that there was a bit of the filling that was raised up a bit from the rest of the tooth, and every time I bit down I forced the filling and tooth up into my head and ouchy. Turns out I clench my teeth when I'm in pain, so it hurt a lot more! All they did when I went back to the dentist was grind the tooth down a bit to smooth it out and it was all better. So it may be something very simple, and try not to bite down on it too much before you go back to the dentist.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:26 PM on February 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Could he have pushed a nerve that runs through the tooth/gum to the eye?

Congratulations, you have just been introduced to your trigeminal nerve. I don't know exactly what's going on here or anything, but yeah, you have one cranial nerve that connects to both of those things, they aren't completely unrelated. I can't offer much specific guidance otherwise because I've never had a root canal, but at least I think you can be relatively confident that this eye thing, if related, is a nerve pain problem and not physical damage done by the root canal.
posted by Sequence at 3:08 PM on February 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I get sinus infections that sometimes present as tooth pain and stabby eye pain. Was the root canal on an upper molar? It's possible for dental problems and procedures to affect your sinuses, there really isn't that much tissue separating them. Normally I would say try Sudafed and if it helps it's just a sinus infection, but since you just had a procedure I'd play it extra cautious and check in with your dentist.
posted by yeahlikethat at 6:41 PM on February 15, 2019

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