dental care


Recurring Tooth Ache

by JustInTime, Answer by the Dentist

Recurring Tooth Ache

Recurring Tooth Ache

Recurring Tooth Ache is a common problem in teeth with deep cavities, infractions or even crowns. One of the readers has a question about whether he should have a root canal done or not.

Hi, I had a deep cavity in a molar cleaned and crowned about 2 years ago.

However, ever since the operation I have an episode of pain in the tooth every other month or sometimes every month that lasts 1-2 days and easily relieved by taking an advil or two. The pain seemd to come with when I am too tired or have a cold, etc.

I went back to my dentist and after x-rays and inspecting the tooth he did not find any inflammation. He said it could be that there is nerve irritation and it is trying to adapt and suggested I would have a root canal to fix the problem.

Since the problem is not so bad (some pain once a month or so is bearable) I don't want to loose a live tooth.

Would this cause more problems down the road if I don't get the root canal? Would the irritated nerve have a chance to adapt?


Recurrent tooth ache can be annoying and very painful. In this case the recurrent tooth ache is due to an inflammation in the tooth, it could be reversible or irriversible. You cannot see this on the x-ray since it's inside the tooth - you can only see an inflammation that has reached the outside of the tooth, that is the bone surrounding the tooth. Since you have had this problem for 2 years, I would say the problem is irreversible. That is, the immuno apparatus of tooth has an impaired function and is more susceptible to bacterial invasion and, thereafter necrosis (dead tooth invaded by bacteria). You never know what the future with bring, but in this case it is likely that the tooth, due to the impaired immunosystem, sooner or later will be invaded by bacteria.

A root canal being done before invasion of bacteria (when the tooth is still alive, like your tooth is now) has a far better prognosis (up to 95%) than a root canal done after a bacterial invasion. The pain will of course also go away when you do a root canal. A tooth with a good root filling and a good filling/crown on top has a very good prognosis!

Good luck with treating your recurring tooth ache!

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