Patients and dentists alike expect pain after root canal procedures. The level of that pain varies, though. Recent research from the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, suggests a correlation between the level of pain before treatment and after.
The study examined 270 patients with pulpal pathology scheduled for routine endodontic treatment, which was executed in a single visit. The chemomechanical preparation was performed with DENTSPLY ProTaper instruments, and the canals were obturated with a warm gutta-percha obturation technique.
The researchers used a structured questionnaire to record data about the sex and age of the patient, the type of tooth, its location, and the pulp diagnosis. Patients recorded their preoperative and postoperative pain using a 10-cm visual analogue scale (VAS). Postoperative pain and the need for analgesics were assessed at 4, 8, 16, 24, 48, and 72 hours after treatment.
The mean level of pain after treatment was 2.58 +/- 2.80 on a VAS between zero and 10. Variables associated with higher preoperative pain, such as whether the patient was female, or if treatment was performed on the mandible or molar, also yielded a higher value for postoperative pain.
The researchers concluded that the presence of preoperative pain is the variable that most influences the prevalence of postoperative pain. They also noted that pain management should be an integral part of dental treatment. The study, “Influence of Preoperative Pain Intensity on Postoperative Pain After Root Canal Treatment: A Prospective Clinical Study,” was published by the Journal of Dentistry.