Post-Root Canal Problems, What's Next?

Hi, anybody experienced with local endodontistry and root canal drama to give me some advice?  I had my first ever root canal late last year with a highly recommended endodontist (referred by my trusted dentist, recommended here on BPN). It clearly didn't "take", and they re-did it without additional charge a few months later. The second time, the healing trajectory was much more obvious and I felt like I was back to normal (no sensitivity, much less pain) on the affected tooth within about two months. Well, that lasted a month, and in the past few weeks, I have been feeling sensitivity in the same area again. Not "pain" yet, so I'm using this time to mull my options. I have Delta PPO. I am not sure if this is a practicioner issue, or just my tooth is so messed up I need an implant. Do I call the same endodontist to have them do it again? Do I trust them to go straight to an implant? (which we'd previously discussed as a more extreme option to try after a root canal). Do I call Delta to have them authorize a second opionion with another endo? Plus, I've gotten soooo many x-rays over the 9 months this has been going on... I hate the thought of more. Is there any harm to if I just live with the sensitivity as long as it doesn't escalate to pain, to give the radiation a rest for a while? Sigh. Teeth, man!

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My experience has a longer time span than yours. My thirty year old root canal failed. Injections from my orthodontists Priya OCallaghan did not help. The choice lay bwtween a redo of the root canal or an implant. I did nothing for two years. Last year i learned it was too late to redo the root canal. i am now in the implant process. Total cost will reach $6,500 for one implant.

I've had a few root canals and discovered through the process that 1) i have really long roots and 2) they are very twisted at the end which means it's really difficult to remove all of the nerve and often requires me to go back several times to get it fully completed. After this happened the first time, my endodontist follows a practice of doing the root canal but only placing a temporary crown so that I can try it out for a week or so and will keep coming back until it is pain free. Then my dentist will place the permanent crown. An implant is not cheap and comes with it's own drawbacks (and is not reversible) so my preference if I were in your shoes would be to exhaust the root canal path before going to the next extreme step. Best of luck and I hope it resolves soon!

When I had tooth sensitivity after an procedure, my dentist told me to switch to Sensodyne toothpaste. She said that over time  (two or more weeks), it would build up an extra layer of protection on the tooth, if I understood that correctly anyway. It did work for me. 

I would definitely either take a wait and see approach to let the nerve area settle down. If discomfort continues for longer than 6 months or it escalates to pain, I'd probably ask my dentist who recommended the endodonist what he thinks, and speak to that endodontist about what the heck may be going on, and I might just get a second opinion. You can also call the office to report your status just so that it is documented and tell them you're going to wait a bit before coming back in. I've had 4 or 5 root canals, only 1 did I have what you describe but the discomfort settled down after several months - but if it is pain, then have it looked at as that could be an infection or something more serious. . 

Last month while on a trip I had a tooth with an old root canal flare up into terrible throbbing pain. It didn't go away after a few days so I set an appointment to see an endodonist where I was visiting but couldn't get an appt for 4 days over a long weekend. Meanwhile I read into this type of pain and saw a homeopathic product Hylands Cell Salts for tooth and gum pain. I'm not a believer in homeopathic medicine but I know it is considered basically harmless and I had nothing to lose so I bought it I think at Walgreens and took as suggested. The next day my pain was significantly less and continued until it was completely gone so I canceled my appointment. I thought it would come back but it hasn't.

Now who knows if that was what actually helped or not but it's just an idea if you feel like trying it.

I have had a couple root canals with an endodontist in SF and then root canal retreatments with Dr. O'Callaghan here in Berkeley. Dr. O'Callaghan was pretty thorough and actually showed me on the xrays that the first root canal I had done years ago in SF, the endodontist did not go all the way to the end of the nerve so I needed a retreatment. Endodontists can do so much. Sometimes it's the structure of the roots that makes a complete root canal impossible as it's hard to reach some of the micro-nerves. Talk to your endodontist if you are feeling sensitivity ask them to take another look/xray and see if there is any sign of infection. Hold on to your tooth as long as you can but If you do end up needing an implant, it's OK. I had a "cursed" tooth and after a root canal and two retreatments in a span of 10 years, an abscess was formed and it was time to let the tooth go. The implant process took time and money (it was around $4,000 out of pocket) and I was so fearful of the whole thing, but in the end it worked out. Someone said to try Sensodyne as it helps with sensitivity and I second that. Good luck!