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The frequency and characteristics of pain and discomfort associated with root filled teeth: a practice-based study

Journal article
Authors J. J. Sjogren
Thomas Kvist
A. Eliasson
M. Pigg
EndoReCo, EndoReCo,
Published in International Endodontic Journal
Volume 52
Issue 9
Pages 1264-1273
ISSN 0143-2885
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Odontology, Section 1
Pages 1264-1273
Language en
Keywords discomfort, pain, prevalence, radiolucency, root filled teeth, persistent pain, endodontic treatment, canal treatment, diagnostic-criteria, orofacial pain, oral-health, tooth pain, prevalence, therapy, impact, Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine
Subject categories Dentistry


Aim To (i) investigate the frequency and characteristics of pain and discomfort associated with root filled teeth in adult patients regularly attending the Public Dental Service in orebro County, Sweden; (ii) assess the association between symptoms and clinical and radiographic findings; and (iii) explore the impact of pain and discomfort from root filled teeth on daily life. Methodology Patient records of adult patients (>= 20 years) scheduled for routine check-ups in April 2015 were screened to identify individuals with root filled teeth; all patients with >= 1 root filled tooth were asked to participate. The examination comprised of clinical and radiographic examinations and questionnaires on general health, on pain symptoms from root filled teeth and on the impact of pain on daily activities. In a general estimating equation (GEE), examination findings and patient-related factors were independently analysed in relation to the outcome 'presence of pain'. Results In total, 550 patients with 1256 root filled teeth participated. Fifty-three patients (9.6%) experienced pain or discomfort from 62 (4.9%) root filled teeth. Lower age, percussion tenderness and apical tenderness were significantly associated with pain (P > 0.001 to P = 0.044). The average pain intensity was 2.1 on a (0-10) Numeric Rating Scale, and average duration was 28.4 months. The impact on daily life was low. Conclusions On average, pain associated with root filled teeth was of mild intensity, >2 years of duration and had low impact on daily life. Although the significantly associated clinical findings may indicate apical periodontitis as the most probable explanation in some teeth, the origin of pain from root filled teeth remains partly unexplained.

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