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painful root canal



Junior member
Apr 20, 2012
Hi - about 2 months ago I ended up having root canal treatment on one of the teeth in my lower jaw - I'd had a dental abcess with excrutiating pain. After a week of antibiotics, I went back for the root canal. I am a very nervous patient, but generally trust my dentist and he knows how nervous I get. The procedure started ok, but as it went on, when he was pushing the file thing into the tooth the pain was incredible. He stopped, packed the tooth with antibiotics and I went back a week later. Unfortunately, I had the same problems again - I had top up injections and my entire left side of the face was numb but the pain in the tooth was too much - I had to ask him to stop. He agreed but said he had not cleared the tooth as he would have liked. Problem I have now is that the tooth is starting to niggle again... I really can't face going through this again. My dentist said if I had further problems with the tooth we should consider sedation but from what I am reading, this would not resolve the pain issue - yes I would be more relaxed but the pain is real and I just don't know what to do....can anyone advise me?

There are advanced injection techniques for getting 'hard to numb' teeth numb. The dentists most likely to be familiar with them are specialist endodontists. I would ask to be referred if I were you.

It is also common (outside the USA) to put calming substances such as Ledermix into 'hot' teeth before continuing with treatment alongside antibiotics.

It is not reasonable to expect you to put up with pain during treatment just because your dentist cannot numb the tooth.

You are correct that sedation changes your perception and for people who can't get numb purely because of their anxiety it seems to work well but if you have a tooth which is not numb for technical reasons, I think it is preferable to find a practitioner knowing the advanced techniques which alas are not routinely taught in dental school.

Good luck. It must have been a scary experience.
Thanks - I will try and find a specialist as you say - I know I have to try and get the tooth fixed properly