Can there be pain in a tooth which has undergone root canal treatment about 3 years ago, due to breaking the crown of the tooth?

I would think that it should not, because the root nerve to the tooth is completely removed and has got nothing to do with crown breaking. Am I correct?

  • If the crown was broken it could have allowed bacteria to get under the tooth, which would eventually cause pressure and therefore pain.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 18:11
  • @CareyGregory I think you could easily find sources for that, and make that an answer. :) (Comments aren't for posting answers though.)
    – Dave Liu
    Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 19:51
  • 1
    @DaveL Trust me, I know that all too well. And I will make it an answer if it's allowed to stand long enough to serve as a reminder for me when I have the time to do so.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 23:56

1 Answer 1


Although a root canal removes the pulp from the tooth (and the nerve along with it), that doesn't make the tooth immune to infection and the resulting pain. If the tooth or crown is broken or cracked, that can provide a pathway for bacteria to reinfect the tissues beneath and surrounding the tooth, as shown in the image below:

Reinfected root canal

As explained at the link:

New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.

A loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection.

A tooth sustains a fracture.

As you might imagine, the new infection at the base of the tooth could cause pain since the nerves surrounding the tooth remain intact. Obviously, only a dentist or endodontist can tell you if this is what happened and how it should be treated. Loss of the tooth is possible, especially if you delay care.

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