Although about 95% of root canals cause very little to no discomfort after the treatment is completed. That leaves only 5% of cases that cause significant pain resulting in a need for additional interaction with your endodontist. We commonly refer to cases like this as root canal flare-ups.

What is a Root Canal Flare-Up?

A root canal flare-up is an incidence of severe pain and swelling after endodontic treatment. Patients that experience any of these symptoms should contact their dentist, endodontist, or doctor right away. You may be prescribed antibiotics, stronger pain medication, or a steroid. You may need to see your endodontist to receive further therapy.

When Do Flare-Ups Occur?

Root canal flare-ups mostly occur in badly infected teeth, teeth that are extremely irritated, or teeth that have a history of prior treatment. Sometimes, however, they occur randomly. This can even be true in patients that have had several root canals done previously without any problems.

If you’re feeling mild pain or discomfort after your root canal, you should not be concerned about a flare-up. Your endodontist should have provided you with instructions for treating your pain. If not, here is how we recommend our patients relieve the pain after a root canal.

If you do have a painful flare-up, you may experience moderate to severe pain, swelling, bruising, throbbing, and general discomfort. These symptoms usually begin a few hours after treatment and may last 2 to 3 days.

You should also be aware that it is possible to have an infection after a root canal without seeing or feeling symptoms. Here are 5 signs you may have an infection after a root canal.

If you have any questions about root canal flare-ups, you can contact our Richmond, VA endodontics office.

About the Author

Dr. Harris has been a practicing dentist since 2005. In 2012, he received his Master’s of Science in Dentistry and a certificate in Endodontics. He founded East Coast Endodontics shortly after receiving his master’s degree. He also currently holds a part-time position as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Endodontics department at Virginia Commonwealth University. View his full bio.