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Symptoms after root canal

H

Hello1

Junior member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
4
Location
USA
I had a root canal retreat completed about 2 months ago on tooth 18 (last molar on the left before wisdom teeth. I no longer have my wisdom teeth). Since then I have felt tingling on various parts parts of my face including my cheek, lips, chin, and jaw. About 90-95% of these sensations are the same side of the root canal although I do occasionally feel them on the other side. The sensations come and go but I do experience them daily. I also have a feeling of soreness/ache on both sides of my jaw and on the left side of my neck. (I may have had the neck and jaw symptoms pre-root canal. My neck has felt tight/strange for some years now.) Thankfully, I am not experiencing anything I would consider pain. I also have a bit of a post nasal drip that is only on the left side of my throat that only started after the root canal. I am usually pretty healthy and rarely get sick/have colds.

Initially, I wanted to have the tooth removed because I thought these were symptoms of an going infection but I have been told by the endodontist who performed the root canal, my general dentist, and another endodontist whom I went to for a second opinion that the tooth looks good and I should not remove it. I have also been told that it is not possible for me to still have an infection due to the amount of antibiotics I have taken. (I have been in about 4 rounds of antibiotics since I visited my general dentist to complain about the weird sensation I was experiencing in my jaw that led to the retreat.) I have an appointment to put in the final restoration in early November.

When I tell my endodontist about my symptoms he maintains that it just takes some people a few months to feel 100%. I feel like his favorite word to use is ‘inflammation’ and he says that is probably what I am experiencing. After the retreat he mentioned that the root had ‘micro cracks’ but said that he would put the success rate of the root canal at about 95%.

I have a few questions:

  1. Is it possible that I still have an infection and that is what is what is causing these symptoms? It doesn’t appear that there is a straightforward way to test for infection and none of the dentists I have spoken to want to put me on any additional antibiotics.
  2. Are these signs of nerve damage and if so, is there anything can/should do? I have already been on a few courses of steroids. I am ok now but I am worried about the sensations I am feeling turning to pain or if they are a sign of ongoing damage to my facial nerves.
  3. I have thought about going to see an oral surgeon several times but I am not sure they can do anything besides extract. Since I don’t have any teeth behind this molar, my only option for replacement will be an implant which I am not crazy about.
  4. Any additional thoughts/advice? I can post my x-ray if it will be more helpful.

Thank you!
 
drhirst

drhirst

Super Moderator
Verified dentist
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
762
Location
Welwyn Garden City, UK
Hey there Hello1,
This situation must be very frustrating for you. Obviously, I cannot examine you and have not seen your x-ray. However, my gut feeling is that these symptoms are not related to infection or nerve damage.
Assuming you do not clench or grind your teeth, it might be worthwhile being investigated for something called Atypical facial pain or similar conditions. Although you mention that what you feel is not pain, these strange irritating sensations could possibly be a mild form.
Hope you get more comfortable soon.
Lincoln
 
M

MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
2,615
Not a dentist, but I wanted to offer support. I hope a dentist can answer your questions.
 
H

Hello1

Junior member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
4
Location
USA
Hey there Hello1,
This situation must be very frustrating for you. Obviously, I cannot examine you and have not seen your x-ray. However, my gut feeling is that these symptoms are not related to infection or nerve damage.
Assuming you do not clench or grind your teeth, it might be worthwhile being investigated for something called Atypical facial pain or similar conditions. Although you mention that what you feel is not pain, these strange irritating sensations could possibly be a mild form.
Hope you get more comfortable soon.
Lincoln

Thank you for replying, Dr. Hirst. Not really what I wanted to hear but it was good to get another professional perspective.

I don’t think I grind my teeth but I do catch myself clenching them at times during the day. Who knows what I am doing at night. Do you think it would be helpful to bring up the possibility of a night guard during my next visit with my general dentist?
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
643
I have atypical facial pain as mentioned above and my symptoms are very similar to what you describe. Often it’s fairly low-key pins and needles/tickle/itchy type sensations, other times it’s really painful burning and aching - usually it’s where my cheek touches the outside of my teeth/gums rather than inside the tooth. It tends to be on my left side, and only effects my lower lip on that side, no other bits of lip. It is really hard to describe! Mine started when I basically knackered a load of teeth by clenching, then had quite a bit of dental work. (That might be co-incidence.)

I was referred to maxillo-facial at the local hospital because my dentist was concerned I kept coming in with toothache, but my teeth/gums are clinically fine. They did a lot of tests, including an MRI scan and whole head x-rays, as well as checking my individual teeth with electric currents. They described it as my nerves “mis-firing”. I was offered medication to blunt the nerves, but wasn’t keen to take it due to side effects. I am now on three-monthly checkups with my dentist, largely because I really panic if a new tooth starts hurting.
 
H

Hello1

Junior member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
4
Location
USA
Not a dentist, but I wanted to offer support. I hope a dentist can answer your questions.

thank you so much for your support, mountain mama. I have read so many of your posts on this forum and they helped me feel a lot better when I was worried about having to get my tooth extracted.
 
H

Hello1

Junior member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
4
Location
USA
I have atypical facial pain as mentioned above and my symptoms are very similar to what you describe. Often it’s fairly low-key pins and needles/tickle/itchy type sensations, other times it’s really painful burning and aching - usually it’s where my cheek touches the outside of my teeth/gums rather than inside the tooth. It tends to be on my left side, and only effects my lower lip on that side, no other bits of lip. It is really hard to describe! Mine started when I basically knackered a load of teeth by clenching, then had quite a bit of dental work. (That might be co-incidence.)

I was referred to maxillo-facial at the local hospital because my dentist was concerned I kept coming in with toothache, but my teeth/gums are clinically fine. They did a lot of tests, including an MRI scan and whole head x-rays, as well as checking my individual teeth with electric currents. They described it as my nerves “mis-firing”. I was offered medication to blunt the nerves, but wasn’t keen to take it due to side effects. I am now on three-monthly checkups with my dentist, largely because I really panic if a new tooth starts hurting.

This is really scary for me to hear, judythecat. How long have you had this and has it gotten better, worse or stayed the same over time?

Have you done anything about the clenching and did that make any difference?
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
643
This is really scary for me to hear, judythecat. How long have you had this and has it gotten better, worse or stayed the same over time?

Have you done anything about the clenching and did that make any difference?

It started late 2017, and I saw MF first in April 2018. I wear a night guard for clenching, which I got in summer 2017, but I had to try a few different types before I found the right one. I was fortunate that my dentist was able to apply for permission from the local health board to make them on the NHS, as otherwise they are very expensive privately. (I am in Scotland, UK.)

My clenching started because my partner was made redundant, huge stress etc - now he’s working again I do it less, and I also cut my hours at work to try to reduce stress there. I wear the nightguard every night, religiously, and even if I take a nap for an hour because of a headache or whatever.

In terms of severity, some days the AFP doesn’t really bother me - I’m just aware of the pins and needles if I move my tongue around my gums, or put lipstick on. Other days it is excruciating.

However, what I would say is that having a diagnosis made a HUGE difference to me. I thought I was going mad for a while, and was just never away from the dentist with pain. Knowing I have something wrong, but it’s not my actual teeth was actually a real breakthrough. I try to be logical about it - if I have multiple teeth start hurting at once, it is unlikely they have suddenly gone bust out of the blue.

As I say, I was offered medication, but declined, so that is an option if it turns out this is what you have. I do take an amino acid type supplement which I think has helped, with my consultant’s approval. It helps too that I have a REALLY fantastic, supportive dentist.
 
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