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Weird symptoms in root canaled tooth - Dentist clueless!



Junior member
Nov 27, 2013
Hello friendly people of DFC, very glad I found you and to discover I am not the only one on earth who is scared beyond description of that lonely ghastly chair where little bits of my soul die every time I think of it. :cry:

I've been having these very strange issues with one of my teeth (I believe it is a pre-molar) that my doctor doesn't seem to understand. About 4 or 5 years back I had to have a root canal done on it. And for years it was fine. Then last year it suddenly started feeling strange. Sometimes it was a dull ache, others it was just sensitive. But the strangeness was because there was no nerve, the pain seemed deep and around the tooth, but not in the actual tooth itself. It was most pronounced in the evenings and when I'm tried, I just get this throbbing heart beat feeling in it, and then it lasts for a couple of hours, but always quite mild and dull, then goes away.

For the past 6 months the pain has extended to the jaw below the teeth, but only when I apply considerable force on it. I don't feel anything unless I pressure it. In fact I found that pain by mistake when I was brushing my teeth once.

The doctor has done a number of X-rays on the tooth. She found an area of darkness underneath the tooth that she thinks is some sort of an infection. She twice gave me antibiotics which provided temporary relief, but then eventually the same symptoms came back. For the doctor, unless she does this, she cannot be sure of what is happening. All her other external tests (she hit it, tried pumping hot and cold air at it, etc) have given no results.

To make matters even more unsettling, she is saying the only solution is to open the tooth again, unscrew the metal piece, get to the infection and clean it then re-do the whole thing again as she thinks the tooth isn't filled properly. But the caveat is that she thinks the tooth might "fall apart" if such a procedure was to go ahead as it might all be held by that screw, so going in might mean collateral damage.

My fear is that whatever infection is there might just grow and possibly hit adjacent teeth, then it might become a huge operation!?

So I can either continue ignoring this (and the doctor seems to think this is okay so long as the infection is localized and the pain is tolerable) or go through with this operation that might risk the entire tooth. She suggested a crown might give relief if the problem is external, but I fail to see how that is a solution at all.

Just to add, I can chew on the tooth (even gum), I can drink everything and mostly all I feel is a deep slightly uncomfortable feeling. What WORRIES me crazy is the jaw pain, I keep thinking that this infection has extended and I now need major jaw surgery. But then the Doctor does and X-ray and she sees nothing.What do you guys think? Am I worrying too much?...
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Hi :welcome: to the forum.

I think the tooth needs to be opened up and re-treated. I have just had this year a rct that had infection under the tooth. I had mine done at the local dental hospital. A tooth that has been root canal treated and gets an infection under it will ache just like a tooth with nerves. It isn't the actual tooth that is giving you pain but the infection that makes it feel like it is the tooth.

The infection is going nowhere unless the tooth is opened back up and re-treated. The infection will not spread to other teeth or anywhere else but it will flare up and give you hell then settle down again if the infection drains, then if fills back up and the whole thing starts again.

I do not want to scare you as nothing will happen to you but it is painful and does effect your everyday life. I would advise you to see an endodontist to have it done as you stand more chance of success and of keeping the tooth. You really have nothing to lose because if you leave it you may have to have the tooth extracted anyway. You still may if it breaks but to leave it infected isn't really an option. Antibiotics are only a temporary fix to settle it down for a while.

I am not a dentist but have experienced a re-treatment and it isn't bad at all, it is nothing to be worried about. :butterfly:
What Carole said: but don't let this dentist do it, go to a specialist endodontist for the best chance of success. If it failed regardless you could then opt for extraction and implant. There's no point in putting up with constant niggles in the tooth which one day will likely crescendo into an abscess etc etc and need treating at that point.
Thank you both, really helpful advice!

I'll find some endodontists in my area and take it from there. Glad to know it won't spread to other teeth, but that flare up sounds pretty painful! :scared:
The flare up is painful and until the tooth is treated it continues to happen. I suffered for nearly two years through a bad dentist telling me nothing was wrong. You don't want this to happen to you.

I am glad you are going to find the correct person to do the job. It will be worth it :butterfly: