Objectives: Endodontic treatment is a routine procedure performed by general dental practitioners and endodontists on a daily basis. Fortunately, most patients undergoing endodontic therapy show a favorable outcome with uneventful healing. However, some patients develop pain following endodontic therapy. A majority of these patients develop acute, nociceptive pain (“flare-up”) that resolves with appropriate treatment and subsequent healing. The dental profession is very adept at successfully managing the acute pain that occurs early following endodontic treatment. A minority of patients, however, develop ongoing pain following root canal therapy, termed chronic if persisting for 3 months or more. The diagnosis and management of chronic postendodontic pain are often challenging. This article aims to review pain following endodontic therapy, ranging from acute to chronic pain and its management, with specific emphasis on chronic pain, its pathophysiology, clinical features, diagnostic criteria, and management modalities.
Keywords: acute pain, chronic pain, endodontics, neuropathic pain, postendodontic therapy, traumatic nerve injury, trigeminal nerve
Conclusion: Endodontic treatment rarely leads to chronic neuropathic pain; however, when the nerve injury occurs and results in posttraumatic trigeminal neuropathic pain (PTNP), treatment options are very limited and rarely successful. Therefore, all steps should be taken to avoid nerve injury. Prevention of endodontic treatment related PTNP is crucial and achieved through early recognition, and prompt management.