A dental crown is a cap that fits over a damaged tooth to protect its inner layers.
It commonly takes up to 2 weeks to have a permanent dental crown installed after your initial dental appointment. In the meantime, your dentist will put in a temporary crown to protect your tooth.
Temporary crowns aren’t as strong as permanent crowns and are glued to your tooth with an easy-to-remove adhesive. Experiencing pain after getting a temporary crown isn’t uncommon, and there are many possible causes.
Read on to learn what you should do if your temporary dental crown hurts and what may be causing your pain.
It’s typical to experience some tooth sensitivity and mild discomfort when you first get your temporary crown. Intense pain, though, is a sign that something is wrong. Here are some of the possible causes.
Crown doesn’t fit properly
The purpose of a temporary crown is to protect the sensitive inner layers of your tooth while your permanent dental crown is being made.
Temporary crowns don’t usually fit your tooth precisely. A crown that’s too high may result in increased pain and pressure when you bite down.
If your bite doesn’t feel right, you might adjust your jaw position to compensate, which could cause further pain and bite issues.
A potential source of pain is a crack or fracture beneath your crown that exposes your tooth’s inner pulp. Cracked teeth typically cause pain when chewing, especially when you release your bite.
A deep crack may need a root canal to save the tooth before a permanent cap is put on.
Grinding your teeth puts pressure on your crown that could damage it. Many people grind their teeth while they’re sleeping without knowing it.
Wearing a mouthguard while you sleep can help protect your crown and may help reduce pain.
Some people who get a dental crown also get a root canal. Although it’s not common, it’s possible to develop an infection after the procedure.
Infections typically cause symptoms like:
- pus or discharge
- bad taste
- bad breath
You may have a gap between your crown and your gumline. Food particles and bacteria may be able to make their way into this gap and lead to tooth decay.
If the temporary crown is on for only a few weeks, it’s unlikely that a new cavity will form. Still, it’s important to continue to gently brush and floss around your crown to remove bacteria that may cause a cavity.
It’s not uncommon to experience gum irritation or sensitivity for the first few days after your procedure. If your pain is caused by sore gums, you may find that it goes away after several days.
If your temporary crown hurts, it’s a good idea to call your dentist. Pain can be a sign that there’s an underlying issue that needs treatment. It’s especially important to speak with your dentist if you think you might have an infection.
While waiting to see your dentist, try to keep the area clean. You should still brush and floss around the area carefully.
Temporary pain relief remedies
The following may help you manage your pain:
- Pain relievers. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) may help take the edge off your discomfort.
- Numbing gels. Numbing gels contain ingredients like benzocaine that help reduce toothache pain.
- A saltwater rinse. Rinsing your mouth with salt water may help reduce inflammation and promote wound healing, per
- A nighttime mouthguard. If you grind your teeth at night, wearing a mouthguard may help take pressure off your tooth.
- An ice pack. Applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to your mouth for 15-minute intervals may help reduce swelling and inflammation.
What to do if you have temporary crown pain after a week?
When in doubt, the best course of action is to speak directly with your dentist. You can manage pain with over-the-counter pain relievers while you’re waiting to see them.
You’ll need another procedure before having your permanent crown put on if you have an infection or tooth damage beneath your crown.
Temporary crowns are installed with dental cement. Your dentist will likely recommend avoiding overly chewy or sticky food while you have your temporary crown to prevent loosening it.
If your temporary crown falls out, you can follow the same protocol as with a permanent crown:
- Retrieve the crown, if possible.
- Call your dentist as soon as you can to make an appointment. Your dentist can advise you of any particular instructions you should follow.
- If your dentist recommends trying to reinsert the crown, clean the inside with toothpaste and use dental glue to reaffix the crown. If you don’t have dental glue, you can use toothpaste.
- Avoid chewing on the crown until you can get it properly replaced.
A temporary dental crown covers a tooth until you can get a permanent crown put in.
It’s normal to experience mild discomfort or sensitivity after getting a temporary crown. But severe pain may indicate a larger concern that requires attention from your dentist.