Got crown pain? While a dental crown can effectively cover and protect a damaged tooth, many people are surprised to learn that it won’t safeguard them from tooth pain.
In fact, a crowned tooth is just as prone to problems as a regular tooth.
You might have discomfort, sensitivity, or pressure where the crown sits. Or, you may experience a constant toothache.
There are many reasons your dental crown can hurt. In this article, you’ll learn more about what could be causing your pain and ways to alleviate it.
A dental crown is a cap that’s placed over a damaged tooth. It’s cemented into place and covers the part of the tooth that you see.
The crown’s job is to restore a tooth’s size and shape, while providing protection. Sometimes, dental crowns are placed on either side of a missing tooth to hold a bridge (a prosthetic that fills a space in your mouth).
Crowns are made of different materials, including porcelain, ceramic, and metal.
You might need a dental crown after a root canal procedure to protect the tooth. Or, your dentist might recommend a crown if you have a:
- large cavity that’s too big to repair with a filling
- tooth that’s cracked or weakened
- missing tooth that needs a bridge or implant
- discolored or misshapen tooth
There are many reasons you may experience pain in a crowned tooth, including:
Tooth decay under the crown
Because the tooth under the dental crown is still alive, tooth decay or a new cavity can form at the border of the tooth and the crown. This can lead to persistent pain in the area.
If a tooth cavity grows large enough and affects the nerve, you might need a root canal procedure.
If you didn’t have a root canal before your crown was placed, the tooth still has nerves in it. Sometimes, the crown puts pressure on a traumatized nerve, and an infection occurs. Or, infections can result from old fillings underneath the crown that leak bacteria that infects the nerve.
Signs of infection include:
- pain when you bite
- gum swelling
- sensitivity to temperature
Sore gums from a crown procedure
You might have temporary discomfort after a procedure to place your crown. This pain shouldn’t last longer than 2 weeks or so. Talk to a dentist if you’re experiencing a lot of pain following a crown procedure, or if you have pain that doesn’t go away after 2 weeks.
A fractured tooth or crown
A cracked crown or tooth underneath a crown can cause mild pain. You might experience sensitivity to cold, heat, or air because of the crack. If you notice your crown is broken, loose, or cracked, you’ll need to have it fixed.
Teeth grinding (bruxism)
Grinding your teeth at night, a condition called bruxism, can put pressure on your crown and cause pain.
You might notice pain and sensitivity if the gums around your crowned tooth have receded and exposed part of the tooth’s root. Gum recession can be caused by harsh brushing. When gums recede, they’re more vulnerable to plaque buildup and gum disease.
The crown doesn’t fit correctly
If your crown doesn’t fit correctly, it may lead to discomfort. An improper fit might also affect your bite or smile. Pain when you bite down usually means the crown is too high on the tooth.
A dental crown should adjust into your bite just as your other teeth do. If your bite feels “off,” it could also lead to jaw pain and headaches.
Treatment for dental crown pain depends on the cause and severity. Some simple measures that may help relieve the discomfort are:
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can provide temporary relief if you have a toothache.
Rinsing your mouth with saltwater may lessen inflammation and reduce pain. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with warm water and swish it around for about 30 seconds. Repeat the rinse several times a day.
Although the effectiveness isn’t scientifically proven, some people report pain relief after using herbal remedies. Some of these can be applied directly to the affected tooth. Popular herbs for tooth pain include:
Steering clear of sticky, sweet, and hard foods after getting a crown may help lessen your pain. Hot and cold foods can also be triggers. Try eating foods at room temperature.
Treatment for bruxism
If clenching or grinding is the source of your pain, your doctor may recommend certain treatments for your bruxism. Mouth guards and mouth splints are sometimes options.
If your tooth pain is severe or doesn’t go away, you should see a dentist. You may need a root canal, a crown replacement, or tooth removal.
Good dental hygiene can protect you from dental crown pain. Be sure to:
- brush twice a day
- floss daily
- see a dentist for regular checkups
Additionally, avoid chewing hard foods, like ice, which can damage a crown.
You might experience some discomfort after having a crown placed, but after a couple of weeks, it shouldn’t hurt.
Infections, cavities, fractured teeth, or other issues may be the cause of your pain. If your toothache doesn’t go away, see a dentist, so you can figure out what’s going on.