Few types of pain are as debilitating as a toothache, and if you thought a crown would spare you that pain, you may be surprised. Tooth crown pain exists. If you're experiencing discomfort around your crown, whether it's a new or an established one, you'll need to get it sorted out before you can have real relief.
Causes of Tooth Crown Pain
Crowns cause pain for a number of reasons. If your crown was fitted without having a root canal procedure to remove the tooth pulp, it could be putting pressure on a traumatized nerve. And unless the bite, also known as occlusion, is perfectly aligned, a patient who grinds his or her teeth during sleep could experience pain from pressing down on any high spots or areas where the tooth is higher than it should be. Another cause of pain comes from previous fillings, particularly those made from silver, may have had leakages resulting in bacteria infecting the nerve root.
Treatment at Home
Your first step is to determine whether you are grinding your teeth at night, a habit called bruxism. If you do, you may have symptoms such as tight, painful jaw muscles upon waking, long-lasting pain and occasional swelling in the lower part of your face or jaw, and of course a grinding sound during sleep.
You can get some relief from generic mouth guards purchased at a drug store or online, and from taking steps such as meditation to reduce stress and anxiety before bed. Try relaxing your jaw muscles using a warm, moist washcloth on your cheeks before going to sleep.
Also, ensure that your mouth and gums are healthy and free of bacteria through regular tooth brushing and flossing. Use an antibacterial mouthwash like Colgate Total® Advanced Pro-Shield™, which kills 99 percent of germs on contact and provides 12-hour protection even after eating and drinking.
When to See a Dentist for Treatment
If your tooth crown pain persists, the sooner you get a professional diagnosis, the better. Make an appointment with your dentist and explain your symptoms. Also, inform him or her if you have bruxism and if there are any measures you have already tried to relieve the pain.
Solving the Problem
After examining your mouth, the dentist may ask you to bite down on articulating paper to determine whether there are any high spots affecting your occlusion. If so, these areas will be filed down to provide better bite alignment. For bruxism, your dentist can fit you with a custom mouth guard at night that creates a protective layer between your upper and lower teeth.
If the dentist discovers an infection in the tooth beneath the crown, it may be necessary to perform a root canal procedure, which could require removal of the crown. In some instances, the dentist is able to drill an access hole in the crown and perform the root canal without removing and replacing the crown. This is a complex process but it may help to save on costs because often crowns can't be reused after removal.
When you experience tooth crown pain, it's important to identify and address the cause as quickly as possible. This type of pain seldom goes away without having treatment to resolve it, and if the measures you take at home don't provide immediate relief, you should make an urgent appointment with your dentist to get professional attention.