Root canal causes pain in adjacent tooth, why?
November 2, 2006 11:35 AM   Subscribe

I just got two root canals in the past month or so. First one was OK, tooth fractured after, but generally OK, it can be capped. Second one was behind it, i believe the first was #13 and second one was #14 behind it. It went feels maybe very very slightly sensitive, but i'll be damned, it's the next tooth behind it (#15 I assume?) that has been hurting (and which never had an RTC). It's been sort of very minor at times, then a little worse when I chew, and sometimes more moderate pain when I chew over the past two weeks. Past couple days it's started hurting more, kind of a dull ache, and hurts when I chew. Why would the tooth behind the root canal tooth hurt? Neither RTC teeth have been capped yet....
posted by Salvatorparadise to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
This happened to me once and it turned out the dentist should have root-canalled the tooth *next to* the one he actually did. I was a bit pissy about it until I calmed down and thought about it.

Tooth #1 (RTC tooth) had been worked on previously, had a deep cavity which he treated and filled, and said, well, let's hope this doesn't get worse. So when the pain began it was the first suspect.

Tooth #2 had had a cavity filled several years prior, but it hadn't been done well. It had been slowly decaying underneath the shoddy filling, and I hadn't had a clue. We knew the filling needed to be replaced but it hadn't been seen as urgent, so the rtc had come first on the other tooth.

Because teeth are so close to each other it's sometimes very hard to tell which one is the culprit. My dentist ran me through more, um, unpleasant tests after the rtc to see why I was still in pain. Cold blasts of air, taps with a metal thing all along that row of teeth, very ick, but it did identify the other tooth as the problem.
posted by routergirl at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2006

IANAD, but I just had my latest root canal two weeks ago. I had some crowns replaced that were toast. Same situation as you, I had one done and then the one behind it starting hurting too. If I didn't know better, I would have thought the dentist did something to make it need a root canal too. Look story short, get ready for #3. Tooth #15 is going to need it too. I tried to see if the pain would go away for about 4 weeks. No dice. If your tooth is tender to the chew, is sensitive to hot and/or cold, it will likely need work.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2006

I had this happen and it was an infection; the symptoms did occur a bit more quickly (days after the root canal as opposed to 2 weeks) but it really made me quite ill. Just in case, have it checked out.
posted by Keane at 11:59 AM on November 2, 2006

Oh, and not related to the question - but get those teeth crowned! ASAP! It's possible they could crack beyond repair, and need to be pulled, and then god help you. Implants will need to be considered at that point, and not the silicone kind. The kind that screw into your jawbone.

posted by routergirl at 12:00 PM on November 2, 2006

And to second routergirl.... I never had the root canal I mentioned in my earlier comment capped because I was, well, lazy. Last year (5 years after the root canal) the tooth cracked and nearly had to be pulled. The pain was excruciating and the bills were equally unbelievable.
posted by Keane at 12:03 PM on November 2, 2006

I had the same thing happen. Multiple root canals all next to each other. If I hadn't had the same dentist for a zillion years, I really would have thought he was doing it on purpose, but I just have weak enamel, and crappy childhood dentistry which is now playing itself out as an adult.
posted by dejah420 at 12:09 PM on November 2, 2006

I've been dealing with root canal pain for the last two weeks, not just in that tooth and neighboring teeth, but tenderness along the whole underside of my jaw. Seems I had a curved canal, and one of the teeny tiny pins broke off inside my root. My dentist sent me to an endodontist because such a complication was beyond her scope of experience. The endo claimed it was no big deal, the pin wouldn't migrate, I wouldn't set off metal detectors---I'd just have to get x-rays every six months forever. He said the pain was due to bruising from overwork. As of now, the pain has stopped, but I've been on antibiotics this whole time, so it might have been an infection as well. Go back to your dentist---if there's any possibility of infection, it's critical.
posted by changeling at 12:24 PM on November 2, 2006

yuck, the dentist who did all this was a total hack, i have a new one now, he's sending me to a endontologist to have the two rtc's as well as the other tooth evaluated to see how much damage he did....
posted by Salvatorparadise at 1:06 PM on November 2, 2006

It could be referred pain.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:21 PM on November 2, 2006

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