My Tooth is Sensitive after a Crown. Now What?

See if this sounds familiar. You’re enjoying a meal with the family, and you soon find out that mum’s lamb leg roast isn’t boneless. Sure enough, you hear that unnatural crunch sound, followed by searing tooth pain. 

You’ve chipped a tooth and need a crown.

Canada Bay Dental can take care of that tooth crown, or “cap.” It typically takes two visits: one to prepare and make a temporary crown, then another visit to place the permanent crown. Assuming there’s no underlying problems – like severe tooth decay, which may require a root canal – the procedures are relatively painless and simple.

Days later, though, that pesky tooth is still sensitive, making it hard to chew and eat. Should you be concerned? Yes and no.

Pain associated with a crown isn’t uncommon, but it’s not something you should ignore, either. To understand why you’re experiencing pain, and what to do about it, you first need a tooth crown primer.

Do I Need a Tooth Cap?

A crown is a cap that covers a tooth to help restore its shape, strength and appearance. For example, your dentist may recommend a crown to cover a tooth that has had a root canal.  Once in place, a crown will completely cover the visible portion of a tooth at and above the gum line.

Dental insurance site Smile pinpoints six reasons why you may need a crown, including:

  1. Restore a broken tooth or tooth that has been severely worn down.
  2. Protect a weak tooth or ensure a cracked tooth holds together.
  3. Keep a dental bridge in place.
  4. Cover a large filling when there’s not much left of a tooth.
  5. Cover a dental implant.
  6. Cover miscoloured or misshaped tooth

What Happens Next?

Taking care of a crown typically takes two visits. You’ll get a temporary crown on your first visit. Although a temporary can last up to a year, you’ll likely wear it until the permanent crown is ready.

Your dentist may need to build a foundation for your crown, especially if large areas are damaged, missing or decayed, according to Colgate. Before the crown is placed, your dentist may need to make room for it by filing down the tooth in question. The dentist then makes an impression of the tooth and of the teeth above and below it to make sure the crown fits with your normal bite.

Now, it’s time for the impression to be sent to a lab, where it’s made. This is when you’ll receive a temporary crown. You’ll keep the temporary one until the permanent crown is ready. From there, the permanent crown will be cemented to your tooth. Permanent types of crowns include metal, porcelain fused to metal or ceramic.  But “permanent” is somewhat misleading. Colgate says most crowns last around seven years but can last up to 40 years.

My Tooth is Still Sensitive! (And What to Do About It)

Most of the time, your worries are over after your crown has been placed. Some patients, though, still experience pain or sensitivity afterward.

This could be caused by several factors, including:

  • Have you had a root canal? If the answer is no, your tooth still contains the nerve. This, in turn, may cause sensitivity to cold, but this should be temporary.
  • Does it hurt to bite down? If the answer is yes, then your crown is likely too high. Contact your Canada Bay dentist so that your crown can be adjusted, an easy procedure.
  • Problems with the crown? A crown, particularly an all-porcelain one, can chip, the cement can wash out from under it and, in some cases, the crown can fall out. These are all easily fixable problems that can be taken care of with a trip to the dentist.

Of course, you also might experience a little sensitivity to hot or cold after the anaesthesia has worn off. You can buy a special toothpaste for this that’s made for sensitive teeth.

Time to See a Dentist

From start to finish, it typically takes around two to three weeks to take care of a crown. Contact Canada Bay Dental as soon as possible if you run into troubles, and, above all, check for bones next time before you bite into mum’s lamb roast.