When the pulp or soft tissue inside a tooth has been damaged by bacterial infection, a root canal is performed, cleaning the infection and filling in the emptied space.
When performing a root canal, the dentist will remove the nerves and pulp within the tooth, clean the inside of the tooth and seal it.
After this procedure your tooth will not sense anything and should be pain free. However, in some cases you may still experience pain after root canal and there are four main causes of this pain:
- Phantom pain: Phantom pain is rare when it comes to root canal. This occurs when the nerve leading up to the tooth still behaves like it were connected to the tooth despite the nerve within the tooth being completely removed. The peripheral nerves will need to be treated to resolve this issue.In most cases, these events cannot be prevented.
- Swelling of ligament around the tooth: One of the signs that you need a root canal is swelling of the gums. Even after the nerves and pulp within the tooth are removed, the ligaments around the infected tooth may still be swollen. This can take some time before the tissue is normal again. In most cases this is the cause for pain after a root canal procedure.
- Damaged tissue: Part of the root canal procedure is to clean the insides of the tooth. Here the dentist must be very careful to not go beyond the tooth. In some cases the file used to clean the tooth may go beyond the root and damage the tissue there. Another possibility is that the sealant used to fill the tooth may go beyond the root, thus aggravating the tissue. This can take some time to heal and may cause pain.
- Excess filling: After the tooth has been cleaned, the dentist fills the tooth with a sealant. If excessive sealant is filled in the tooth, it may become taller than the surrounding teeth, which puts extra pressure on the tooth and results in soreness and pain. The dentist will have to remove the excess sealant in order to resolve this issue.