Swollen Lymph Nodes - Possible Root Canal

Jun 8, 2013
Best answers
Hi all.

I'm guessing this is a question to be answered by a dentist, but if anyone knows please feel free to chime in.

I'll try to make this a short story. My lower right furthest back molar (not a wisdom tooth) has been causing me pain for two weeks now. The pain started off gradual and now it's gotten pretty bad. I rate it at a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Last night the pain was so bad that I had trouble sleeping. I woke up several times during the night and tossed and turned a lot. I called my dentist's office and got in this morning to see my dentist.

I told him all of my symptoms and the duration. I'm having a constant toothache pain, pain is worse with biting or chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold (cold is the worst) and the gums and cheek around the tooth are irritated and swollen. I've had several root canals in the past and immediately recognized this as the same symptoms I've had before. I told my dentist that this felt like a root canal problem.

He did a thorough examination of the tooth. We didn't do x-rays because I just had full mouth x-rays 3 months ago. This tooth also had a filling about 2 months ago and was fine until 2 weeks ago.

He's not sure whether or not the tooth will need a root canal. At this time he doesn't think it's necessary, but it's still a possibility. The examination was very thorough including a check of my facial lymph nodes on my neck and jaws. The lymph node on my neck concerned him and he said it's a 'class 5 swollen lymph node'. I'm not sure if I remembered the entire name correctly. This caught me off guard and I forgot to ask what it meant. He didn't say anything further about it, but did make a note of it in my chart.

The one on the neck was tender to the touch and swollen. I also had some tenderness near my jaw (not sure if it was swollen too), but I told him my jaw has been tender for awhile. It's never been 100 % since my double jaw surgery (over a year ago now). The problem with my neck lymph node is new. I forgot to add that the lymph node on my neck is also on the right side, the same side as the painful tooth.

I've never had anyone mention lymph node problems to me before and I'm wondering what all this means.

Is this a cause for concern? Is a swollen lymph node a symptom or sign of needing a root canal treatment?

Another thing I've been wondering about is that I'm now seeing a dentist who works with phobic patients, as my phobia is not under control at this time. I have to go into a bit of history to explain this. A huge part of my phobia is due to having 4 root canals done in a 3 year period (the last 3 years). I didn't know at the time, but these treatments ended up traumatizing me because they were done by a dentist and endodontist who were not sympathetic to people with dental anxiety and phobia. I bascially felt forced into these treatments because I was in pain and felt I had no other choice.

During the time since I've started to see my current dentist, I've already noticed an improvement with my phobia and dental anxiety. I'm becoming more comfortable with the exams and I'm not as much of a nervous wreck in the waiting room. I know there's still room for a lot of improvement, but I have noticed some positive changes. I'm more trusting of my doctor now than when I met him 4 months ago.

Also, the office does offer nitrous oxide which I've tried and now don't want to go without (at least until we get my phobia better under control), so if I did need a root canal treatment I'd be able to have the nitrous and I'm guessing that this will help me handle the procedure better. So far the only thing I've used nitrous for was for a deep cleaning done by the hygenist and it worked wonders.

I really like my current dentist. I've seen him 6 times over a 4 month period and we haven't done any procedures yet where he's working on me. The only procedure I've had done at the office was a deep cleaning done by the hygenist. I've had a few exams done by my dentist so far, for painful teeth.

This is a question to any dentists out there. I know you can't say for sure since I'm not your patient and you haven't examined me, but from what I've said here, what would you do?

Right now my dentist told me to monitor the tooth for awhile and try a warm salt water rinse for about 10 days. If my pain worsens or I develop a new symptom I'm to call the office right away to get seen again. I can also take OTC pain killers as needed.

My question is do the symptoms sound like a root canal problem or is it still up in the air?

I can only go on past experiences since I'm not a trained dental professional, but I do know my body. It just seems to me that a root canal would be the right thing to do at this point in time, not wait. In the past when I've waited the tooth has only gotten worse.

Is it possible that my doctor is delaying treatment because he's afraid to hurt my emotional health by doing the root canal treatment? If this is so, what has to happen for him to say 'Ok. I know this is scary for you, but we need to do a root canal to save this tooth and take away your pain' ?

I'm sorry. I just have a lot of things running through my mind right now. If this gets worse over the weekend, the soonest I can see my dentist is on Tuesday. They're not open Fridays or Mondays.

Thanks for listening. Any advice would be great.



Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question