Delayed Pain with a Root Canal Treatment

My dentist told me that pain from a root canal treatment will peak in 48-72 hours so don’t worry if there is still pain after the procedure. However, I recently read a blog post on a dental website that said pain after a root canal treatment meant the treatment has failed. Which is it?


Dear Laura,

I’m wondering if the wording of the blog led to the confusion here. There will usually be some pain after a root canal treatment. Plus, as the Novocain wears off the pain will gradually increase. This is normal and, as your dentist mentioned, should peak somewhere between 48-72 hours, though some are pain-free sooner.

When you need to be concerned is if the root canal had completely stopped hurting and then several days later (or even longer) begins to hurt a second time. That would be a sign of a failed root canal treatment. In that case, you would need to see the dentist again in order to have it redone and hopefully save the tooth.

What If You Can’t Save the Tooth?

Sometimes, despite the dentist’s best efforts, a tooth is unsavable. When that happens there is nothing that can be done except to extract and replace it.

Hopefully, this will not become an issue. But, if it does, then the best tooth replacement option will be to get a dental implant. These are the closest to having a healthy, natural tooth again.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.