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Pain in root canal tooth and old extraction sites - not sure where to turn



Junior member
Mar 25, 2021
Last summer, after 3 months of pain and going between dentist, endodontist and oral surgeon for consults and treatment, I had a root canal on tooth 45 (I think the premolar) and a crown put on, and the 2 molars beside it removed due to abcess / infection / crack. The root canal and crown went as per plan with no issues after. The extraction of the 2 teeth was brutal. It took the oral surgeon over 90 minutes to extract both as the roots were fused to the jaw bone.
Fast forward 4/5 months and just in the last 2 weeks and I have an ache in my jaw where the 2 teeth were removed (although there are no teeth!) and the root canal tooth feels tender when tapped. I also have a bad earache for the last 2 weeks since this began. I went back to my dentist and she took x-rays of top and bottom and could see nothing wrong. I am going back to my oral surgeon next week for a check up for an issue with my jaw on the other side popping out at night and teeth grinding at night.
My questions is does anyone have an idea what might be going on? Has the root canal failed even though my dentist saw nothing or could it be linked to teeth grinding?
I appreciate with xrays etc its hard to give an opinion but Im so upset and distressed that after the months of pain and then recovery last year and meticulous oral hygeine since, Im back in pain again in the same area.

Thanks you
Hi Galwaygirl,

I can understand how deflating this must be for you. You’ve been doing everything you can to help.

I have to say, it does sound like it could well be related to clenching or grinding of the teeth, especially if you’re aware that this is an issue. The stresses that can be applied, usually at night time, can overload the teeth, the muscles or the jaw joint itself and can cause a wide variety of symptoms and many different types and locations of pain.

It is definitely worth mentioning to your oral surgeon about these symptoms so the timing of your visit next week is convenient at least. If you don’t have a splint or night guard it’s probably a good place to start- even if it’s just to see if/ how much of an improvement it makes.

There’s a page on DFC here on TMJ problems. You might find it helpful?

Hope things improve for you soon. I wouldn’t be writing off the root treated tooth just yet- clenching or grinding is a common source of this sort of pain and it’s good news that no problem showed up on x-ray under the root canal.

My fingers are crossed for you!

all the best,
The page on TMJ pain that Niall mentioned is here:

Thank you both so much for the replies and the link to TMJ pain tips. I feel much less stressed today knowing there could be another reason for the aches, rather than just an issue with the dental work that was done. Hopefully I will know more this week after seeing the oral surgeon.
Seeing as you both were so good to reply, I just wanted to update and confirm you were right about the TMJ. I woke this morning and could barely open my mouth, it was locked on the left side. My usual manipulation of the jaw could not pop the jaw back into place. When I saw the oral surgeon / maxfac this afternoon he believes I have a mild form of TMJ, in addition to my bite being off to the left and grinding/clenching of teeth at night. So Im getting a mouthguard next week and also going for an MRI so he can get a better look at the joint / disc. He also confirmed the root canal tooth is fine and is probably being grinded at night hence the tenderness.
Great to hear you have an answer and a plan on how to move forward. Thanks for letting us know ?