Ongoing ache in tooth with root canal

I had a root canal almost a year ago. Afterwards the prior pain subsided, but then increased to the point where it was at the level I had before the root canal. I was about to leave for a long work trip; another doctor in the same practice said I might have an infection and prescribed a course of antibiotics.

The antibiotics didn’t help. I went to a different endodontist in the city I was in for a tooth CAT scan–there’s a name for this which escapes me. This doctor said he could see nothing wrong with the work and no evidence of a hidden root. He said I had three options–tooth replacement (strongly discouraged), reopen the tooth to take a look, or ride it out and hope it improved.

The pain subsided for a while but then returned after a few months to a point WORSE than before the root canal. By this time I was back home and went to my original endo. He examined me and reviewed the CAT scan, and basically offered the same options, though he also strongly discouraged replacement. He concurred that there was no evidence of a hidden root. He suggested that maybe this was the ligaments and muscles around the tooth still being irritated by the work.

I then suggested a course of prednisone–to combat the presumed irritation and inflammation around the tooth. He agreed. The pred took down the acute pain and for a month all was well, then I had ANOTHER flare-up, but before I could get back to my doctor it died down.

For about two months now the pain level has been acceptable. Occasionally it’s not there, on some days it’s about a headache level of annoyance–controllable with acetaminophen. But I am always aware of something, and if I check on it by pressing down on the tooth with a finger, or wiggle it, there is sensitivity.

Soooo…advice from strangers on the internet? How unusual is this and what can I do?

Is it banging on the tooth above or below it when you chew? I had a rootcanal and the crown didn’t fit properly. Hurt really bad. I just kept complaining til they changed the crown. It quit hurting after that.

Thanks, Beck, but that’s not it. The crown was ground down twice; it doesn’t meet the corresponding tooth above.

I think maybe she means it fits improperly in other ways and is irritating your jaw.

Another thing to check into would be referred pain. I had a bad tooth in my lower jaw that was referring pain into my upper cheek and jaw. It could be that you have another tooth that is causing the issue.

You may need to have the tooth pulled entirely. My one root canal ended up failing and needed to come out. I’m having an implant put in.

In your shoes, I would ask about referred pain, and then move on to opening the tooth up. Clearly something is not right.

Wow,** TSBG** that sucks. Never heard of anything like that. If two endodontists cant find the problem using a CAT(actually called a cone beam radiograph) I sure don’t know. My guess would be the nerve end where it was cut going into the tooth hasn’t healed up. As a general dentist v. an endodontist I’d say with all that I would replace the tooth, or maybe see a neurologist looking for a trigeminal neuralgia.

Thanks rsat3acr, I appreciate it. Not to sound like a martyr but I’ve got a lot of aches and pains I just have to live with, this may be another one. If it becomes acute again I’ll try the neurologist first and then maybe have the thing out, as unenthusiastic as I am about that.