Theriot Family Dental

Problem with Pain and the Dentist Can’t Find Anything

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Several years ago, I was in an accident that cause an exposed nerve in a tooth. I went in for an emergency root canal treatment. I was fine until a few weeks ago, when I started having terrible pain again to cold and hot. I waited a bit because of finances. By the time I had the money, the tooth wasn’t hurting as much, but I went in anyway. The dentist did an x-ray and didn’t see anything. He also tapped the tooth and I didn’t really feel anything. Now, a few days later the pain is coming back. Could it be from the manipulating of the tooth he did or do I have something more serious going on?


Dear Carla,

Example of a root canal treatment
Example of a root canal treatment


I’m puzzled why your dentist is having trouble diagnosing this. You had a root canal treatment done. You were fine for a while but then the pain came back and subsided. With sensitivity to cold, that tells me you have an inflammed pulp and need a root canal treatment. If your tooth had the root canal, then either it has failed  and you need to try a re-treatment or it is an adjacent tooth that is acting up and you are feeling referred pain.

It is not uncommon, when there is tooth trauma involved, for their to be an adjacent tooth that in impacted, but does not show signs of a problem for a while later. The fact that he didn’t see anything on an x-ray doesn’t surprise me either. He would not see anything until after any infection spilled out and turned into an abcess.

It is always better to take care of these things before they turn into a dental emergency. My recommendation, at this point, is to ask him to send you to an endodontist. These are root canal specialists and they will be able to tell you whether you are dealing with root canal failure or an adjacent tooth.

This blog is brought to you by Baton Rouge Dentist Dr. John Theriot.