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Can Tooth Crowns Become Painful?

When dental problems are detected early, most of the time patients need a simple filling. However, when teeth become irreparably damaged either through direct trauma or tooth decay, more intensive procedures may be in order.

Tooth crowns are a necessary procedure for many dental patients who want to restore the former beauty of a damaged tooth. They are long-lasting and improve the look of a smile. When they are working as they are intended, they should not be painful.

However, what course of action should you take if your crowns are painful? We will discuss what sensations are normal and when you should contact your dental professional right away.

Firstly, what are tooth crowns?

Crowns, often called caps, are prosthetic devices that cover your damaged tooth. They can restore your teeth to a normal shape and also give them new strength. Crowns are placed over any tooth that is cracked or decayed.

Crowns are useful for a few other reasons like improving the look of discolored and misshapen teeth. They can also hold a bridge in place for further dental work. Your crown can last from 7-40 years depending on the make of your crown and how you take care of it.

What kinds of crowns are there?

There are two types- prefabricated and made-to-order. Prefabricated crowns are readily available since they are already made. Made of plastic or stainless steel, they are temporarily placed in your mouth until you can get a permanent crown that is custom made to the exact shape of your tooth.

Made-to-order crowns are created via impressions from your own teeth so they match your bite exactly. These more permanent crowns can be made of diverse materials. Your dentist will recommend crowns made of gold, palladium, or metal-based alloys, or she may choose ceramic or porcelain crowns. Metal crowns are ideal for back teeth because they are stronger than ceramic crowns.

What kind of pain is normal, and when should I see my dentist?

Normally, you should not feel any sensitivity or discomfort after your dentist places your crown, though a temporary sensitivity to cold is normal right after the procedure. After your crowns are placed, if you feel any of these following symptoms, you should notify your dentist right away:

  • Tooth decay/cavity pain
  • Sensitivity and discomfort
  • Cracked tooth pain
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)

Tooth decay pain

Crowns will not protect your teeth from decay, so you need to keep up regular care to prevent cavities and further damage. If you notice any pain that won’t cease, you should also contact your dentist to get your teeth checked out.

Sometimes a bad fit will cause the cement to wash out underneath your crown, which allows bacteria to seep in and cause painful tooth decay. If you are chewing and your crown feels loose, you should consult your dentist immediately. Fixing this problem will help prevent any future problems with the tooth in question.

Sensitivity and discomfort

Sensitive nerves

Sometimes there can be nerve complications after the crown is set. Though temporary sensitivity is normal after the procedure, any discomfort that lingers or intensifies over time needs immediate attention.

Usually, this sensitivity is related to the lack of enamel and the dentin being exposed. The dentin is the layer of the tooth underneath your enamel that is sensitive to heat and cold. Typically the solution is a root canal that will eliminate the source of nerve pain.

Your dentist can also prescribe toothpaste for sensitive teeth or apply a solution to your teeth that desensitizes the exposed dentin.

Crown set too high

Sometimes when patients experience pain or sensitivity when biting down, it can mean that the crown was set too high. An improper bite is going to cause pain and other oral health problems so it important to contact your dentist to get your crown readjusted. Normally readjusting the height of the crown will solve this problem.

Cracked Tooth Pain

Crowns can hold cracked teeth together. If there is continual pain from your cracked tooth even after a crown, the most viable solution is to remove the entire tooth. Replacing the missing tooth with a dental implant is also a possible solution that will maintain the cosmetic appearance of your teeth.


Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can also cause pain. Tooth grinding makes the crown to apply direct pressure to your teeth, inflaming your oral nerve tissues. To solve this problem, your dentist can buff your crowns down to correct the bite or to give you a root canal to eliminate the feeling of pain.

If you have any questions about getting a crown or about what to do if you encounter discomfort or pain associated with it, please contact us.

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