We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Most Common Root Canal Side Effects?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Some of the most common root canal side effects include pain or discomfort, stopped tooth growth, and the eventual discoloring and weakening of the tooth. Although some of these side effects require additional dental work, typically they are harmless and rarely ever indicative of root canal problems. Other side effects, though, can mean there were root canal complications. These side effects include severe pain, infection, and a cracked tooth. A dentist might be able to reverse these complications, or the patient might need surgery to save the tooth.

Probably the most common of root canal side effects is the mild to moderate discomfort or pain a patient can experience both during and after the procedure. Many patients describe the pain they experience while getting a root canal as being similar to the kind of pain common with getting a regular tooth filling. Since patients tend to experience a certain amount of tissue inflammation after getting a root canal, many will continue to experience this pain for the few days following the root canal. This is especially true if they already had pain or an infection before the procedure. Dentists usually recommend managing the pain with over-the-counter pain medication until it fades.

Additional common and non-threatening side effects of a root canal can include oral and facial numbness or a tingling sensation. This is due to the anesthetic used to prevent the patient from feeling pain during the procedure, and will wear off a few hours after leaving the dentist’s office. If the patient is a child but the tooth is a permanent one, the tooth might stop growing for good. Some patients develop small sores or blisters on the gum near the tooth due to the bacteria that was previously in the infected tooth and pulp, but these should go away after a few days. Patients can also expect a certain level of tooth discoloration and weakness, though these root canal side effects might not manifest for years following the procedure.

There are more serious side effects that might be indicative of root canal complications. These include severe pain that doesn’t respond to OTC pain medication or fade over a few days, a crack in the tooth, or any other kind of painful or “off” feeling the patient might have related to the tooth that doesn’t go away. Any patient who experiences these kinds of side effects should see his dentist as soon as possible, because they could be symptoms of certain root canal problems such as a root canal infection. Some root canal problems can be fixed and the tooth can be saved by a second root canal or by endodontic surgery. If the problems are severe enough, the dentist might need to extract the tooth.

If the patient takes proper care of his tooth, it can last the rest of his life. Still, some root canal side effects, like tooth weakening and discoloration, require the dentist and patient to think about future dental work. For example, applying a permanent filling to the tooth can help keep it safe for a long while. Fitting a crown over the tooth can help the tooth last even longer, possibly forever, as well as hide the discoloration. Depending on the situation, these are considerations the patient and dentist might immediately discuss or might save for a later date.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Ana1234 — On Oct 21, 2013

@pleonasm - I think it depends on the individual case. It's not impossible that a root canal treatment could lead to a tooth extraction anyway, if something goes wrong. People sometimes develop cracks in the tooth or they have ongoing pain.

My father had to have a tooth extraction after his second root canal and he always said he wished he'd just done that in the first place.

By pleonasm — On Oct 21, 2013

@Fas5t3r - My sister had a root canal a few years ago and she told me that the pain wasn't any worse than getting a filling. She decided to just have the dentist fill the tooth and put a crown on right away though, so that she wouldn't have to worry about it again.

If anything, she thinks it's better than her other teeth now because it doesn't react to hot and cold temperatures like her other teeth do. She's always had sensitive teeth, so this is actually a bonus, although it doesn't really make much difference in the long run, since the teeth around it are still sensitive.

She was offered the choice to have a tooth extraction instead of a root canal before they did it and I think she definitely made the right choice. Tooth extraction might have slightly less risk, but in the long run I think a root canal is probably better for you.

By Fa5t3r — On Oct 20, 2013

I was actually surprised to find out how few side effects of the root canal procedure there are. I would have thought that the nerve of a tooth was important enough that the tooth wouldn't remain rooted without it.

But apparently they will pretty much last for the rest of the person's life, as long as nothing else goes wrong. It's possible for them to have side effects, of course, but it sounds to me like most of those are relatively rare, particularly if you opt to have a crown put onto the tooth.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.