Category Archives: Root Canal Treatment

Pregnant with a Horrible Toothache

I am twenty-two weeks pregnant. My OBGYN suggested that I go to see my dentist for a check up during my second trimester because healthy teeth and gums are important for a healthy baby during pregnancy. I’m not exactly a fan of dentists but did what my doc said in order to protect my baby. At the appointment, my dentist found a couple of cavities and filled them right there. That was a few weeks ago and I am now in excruciating pain. Nothing helps it except Tylenol, which I am trying to avoid because I am pregnant. Why am I having all this pain? I didn’t have any before the visit. Is there anything I can do about it while I am pregnant?


Dear Marla,

Pregnant woman at the dentist

Congratulations on your baby!! I can tell you are going to be a good mother because you are already doing things that scare you for the sake of your baby.

It is not uncommon for a tooth to ache after getting filled. However, you are describing significantly more pain than I would have expected. There are a couple of possibilities that spring to mind.

First, it could be that your filling is sitting too high. If that is the case, your dentist can adjust it in order to make it more comfortable.

A second possibility is the depth of the cavity. I don’t know if your dentist mentioned that you had a deep cavity. If that is the case, then it would be close to a nerve. She may have put a buffer there in the hope that you would not need a root canal treatment.

My suggestion is you get a follow up visit including an x-ray to get this looked at. If you are worried about the x-ray, be assured that most dentists use digital x-rays these days. This gives you no more radiation than you are exposed to just going outside. Even with the low radiation, they will provide you with a special lead lined robe as an additional precaution.

Your dentist is correct that healthy teeth and gums are important for your baby. Gum disease has been linked to low birth weight in children, which puts them at a greater risk of illness. Infections can be passed on to the baby as well, so treatment is recommended.

You’re at the perfect stage of your pregnancy for any dental work needed and your dentist should be well-versed in what is safe for the baby. You don’t want to put this off and have it blow up into a dental emergency. If you are concerned, you can get some extra advice from your OBGYN about medications.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.
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Pain After Root Canal Treatment

I need some advice about my root canal treatment. I had one done in three sessions that was the most discomfort I have ever been in. Then, I remained in pain for quite some time. I went back to my dentist and he decided to refer me to a root canal specialist, which I am wondering if he should have done in the first place. The endodontist thought maybe I was in pain because a canal was missed and I opted for a retreatment. During the procedure, he did not find a missed canal but said that he gave the end of the root more of a seal than was there before. He did tell me it would hurt for a few days. The swelling is down, but I am on day five and still in quite a bit of pain. Is there something wrong or do I need to wait this out?


Dear Drew,

Man in pain holding his cheek

I am sorry you are in pain. The good news is there are some things to be optimistic about here. First, it looks like the original problem of the infected tooth was resolved during the root canal treatment. In some complicated cases, it is better to go to a root canal specialist, but for most normal root canal treatments, your general dentist is just fine.

It should be noted that the failure, in this case, was not because he missed a canal but could have done a better seal at the tip of the root, which your second treatment resolved.

You said the swelling has gone down. This is another positive sign. The question about healing after a root canal treatment is not as much “how long should you be in pain”? Rather, the question is, “Are you improving?”

In your case, it appears you are. Some patients are in pain for longer than others. I would ask your dentist or endodontist to give you something for the pain but make sure you taper off of it each day.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.
Click here to learn how she keeps prices affordable.

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.

My Dentist Doesn’t Seem to Care

I had a fractured tooth and the dentist put a crown on it without telling me it may need a root canal treatment. I probably would have just had it pulled if I knew that ahead of time. The crown never felt right and I told the dentist that it was painful whenever I had to chew on that side, but he blew me off and said it is normal to have some irritation after a crown. I waited and then the next month, I ended up needing a dental crown on the next tooth. I asked them to fix the first tooth before crowning the second one, but they weren’t interested in that. All he did was numb the first tooth a little and crown the second tooth then tell me to come back in a couple of weeks. Now I find out the first tooth has a periapical abscess. At this point, I think they should refund me on the crown and I just pay for the extraction at this point. Is there a way to get this money back?


Dear Margie,

In the long run, this is not going to be the best dentist for you. Though, I am sure you have already figured that out. He is sloppy in his work and doesn’t have good follow through. In fact, he seemed more interested in collecting a fee from a second procedure than fixing the first one.

While it is true that there can be some sensitivity after having a crown placed. That sensitivity has more to do with temperature changes. Pain when you are chewing is completely different. That is a sign something is wrong. When a crown is done well, you don’t even notice it is there.

What Treatment Should You Get For This

I don’t think you should get this tooth extracted. Because of the periapical abscess, it will be extremely difficult to get the surrounding area numb and this will end up being a traumatic experience.

If you, instead, had a root canal treatment done, you would be in a better position. Not only will you save your tooth but a dentist could drill down in there and you wouldn’t feel a thing. The tissue inside the tooth is dead.

I don’t trust your current dentist, so I recommend you see an endodontist (root canal specialist) to have this done.

Can You Get a Refund?

That’s a bit tricky. It wasn’t great care, but it doesn’t necessarily qualify as malpractice. Your best bet is asking for a refund. If he refuses, which he probably will, you can tell him you are going to leave a bad review explaining that he doesn’t care about his patients and does poor quality work. That may convince him that it is in his best interest to make this right with you.

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

Dental Disaster in Mexico

I went to Mexico to have two dental crowns done because it was supposed to be a lot cheaper than having it done in the United States. In two days the first crown fell off and I had to go back. When I did, they told me I needed a root canal before they could replace the crown. I had some doubts about that becuase the tooth wasn’t hurting but they seemed certain it was necessary. Then, it starting have senstivivity to hot and cold. Now I can’t even eat with it. I called them and they told me I needed to come back in. These trips are pretty extensive so I decided to just get a second opinion with a local dentist. He said the tooth did not need a root canal and is actually cracked and needs to be extracted and replaced. My question is, do you think it is reasonable to ask them to apply the cost of the unnecessary root canal they did toward the cost of the extraction and dental implant?


Dear Pam,

What a disaster. While I am sure it is reasonable, I don’t know if you really want them doing that. A dental crown is one of the first things a dentist learns how to do in dental school. He couldn’t even do that right. Then, they gave you an unnecessary root canal treatment. AND, they didn’t even do it right because you should not have had any sensitivity to hot or cold.

Dental implants are one of the most advanced procedures in dentistry. If they can that wrong, it will cause you serious, permanent injury. What if they place it on a nerve? Or you get an infection in your jaw that causes you to lose bone?

In your place, I would bite the bullet and have this done in the United States with a reputable dentist with dental implant training and experience.

I do not know what the laws are in Mexico as far as getting a refund for malpractice, but you can at least try.

Dental tourism is always a gamble. Sometimes it works out. The problem is in the cases where it doesn’t, it is always a disater and in many cases people end up with permanent problems.

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

Can You Have a Root Canal Done a Third Time?

I had a root canal treatment done about nine years ago. It had to be re-done a few years after that. Now it is bothering me again. Is it possible to do a root canal treatment a third time?


Dear Mary,

You can re-do a root canal treatment quite a few times. However, you may want to evaluate whether or not that is your best course of action. Root canal treatments are tricky under the best of circumstances. It is estimated that even when a dentist does everything perfectly, there can still be a 15% failure rate. Why is that?

While there is between one and four canals in a tooth, depending on the type of tooth, there are branches that stem off from the main canal. These can take crazy twists and turns. In some cases, they are literally impossible for us to clean out and seal properly with the current technology we have. If a dentist can’t reach all the pulp, there is a significant chance of re-infection.

In addition to that, the chances of a successful re-treatment go down with each attempt. This will be your third treatment. A second option is root canal surgery. However, some patients are not candidates depending on where the nerves lie.

While a good dentist always tries to save a tooth, the honest answer is some teeth are not saveable despite everyone’s best efforts. In that case, the only thing left is to get a tooth extraction and then a replacement.

If that happens, the two best replacements to look at are a dental implant or a dental bridge. Both will serve you well. Just speak with your dentist about your particular circumstances and he or she will help you make the right decision.

Best of Luck!

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

Is My Root Canal Linked to My Cancer?

Hi there,

I am in remission from a bout with cancer, and trying desperately to stay that way. I recently learned that getting root canals can be linked to cancer. A documentary I saw recommended extraction instead of saving the tooth via root canal treatment. I had a root canal about 10 years ago, and am now terrified it may cause my cancer to come back. Will  a dentist be willing to remove the tooth? Should I have opted for an extraction over a root canal back then? Honestly, I would feel better with it out at this point.

Zarya, from St. Petersburg, FL


Hi Zarya,

You probably could find a dentist to remove the tooth. However, the dentist would likely be doing it to calm your nerves, not because it is  a cancerous ticking time bomb. A general dentist can do the procedure, or you can look for a holistic dentist in your area. A holistic dentist takes your entire body’s health into consideration when recommending treatment.

The documentary you saw may have been focused more on fear-mongering than accuracy. As you probably learned,  teeth requiring root canals have bacteria present. A root canal removes the bacteria, and seals the tooth, so it cannot become filled with bacteria again. More recent studies show that patients who receive root canals are healthier, and even at a lower risk of cancers. The documentary you saw likely referenced an old, outdated study that has not been replicated, yet is still causing panic and worry.

Good oral health is linked to good heart health, so taking care of your teeth is necessary to a healthy body. Being concerned about your oral health is important to keeping your body healthy. However, you do not need to worry so much. Your past root canal did not cause your cancer, nor will it cause it to come back. Getting it extracted is up to you and your dentist.

This blog post is brought to you by Scottsdale dentist and root canal provider, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry.


Sensitivity after root canal

I had a root canal treatment. The procedure itself wasn’t too bad and everything seemed fine until a few days ago. Now all of a sudden my tooth is sensitive to cold. I can’t figure out why. Do you have an idea?

Brooke- maryland


If you’ve had a tooth canal and then the tooth becomes sensitive to cold, it means there was a hidden canal that didn’t get cleaned out and needs to be re-treated.  Fortunately, most dentists charge for root canal treatment by the tooth, so there would not be an additional fee for the re-treatment.  If, however, your dentist treats by the canal, there would be an additional fee.

These canals can be tricky and it is not unusual for the best dentists to miss one.  If it is a difficult canal, your dentist may decide to send you to a root canal specialist.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix dentist Dr. Kevin Peck.

Crown prep pain

I’ve gotten one of my teeth prepped for a crown. At first there was some normal tenderness. That went away, but for some reaason now my lower left jaw (the side where the crown is being placed) is having a lot of pain. The pain is to the point that I have to take medicine. Is that normal?

Anthony H.- Cincinnati, OH


The type of pain you are describing is not normal after a dental crown preparation. It is possible the pain is coming from the tooth itself. If your tooth has already been through a significant amount of trauma, such as large fillings, the inflammation may not be reversible.

If that is the case, the best solution would be a root canal treatment. Your dentist will know best if that is the case. Either way, you’ll want to let your dentist know. He’ll probably coat your tooth with some type of desensitizer sealant on the surface of the dentin to try to get the pain to go away. Hopefully that is the solution.

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

Retreatment of Root Canal

I have had two retreatments for a root canal. It has started bothering me again. My dentist sent me to an endodontist who said the best treatment option is for me to have the tooth extracted and have a replacement tooth put in. I’d really like to just have it retreated. What do you think I should do?

Brandon S.- Bigelow, AR


The rate of successful root canal re-treatment goes down significantly with each proceeding root canal treatment. The money you would spend on another unsuccessful retreat would be much better spent in having your tooth extracted and then replaced. You can replace it either with a dental implant or a dental bridge.

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