If your dental professional has put a crown on your damaged or decaying tooth, you probably weren't expecting any lasting pain after your procedure. After all, your crown was meant to improve your oral health, not create any discomfort for you. But in some cases, tooth crowns can lead to increased sensitivity. If you're experiencing discomfort around your capped tooth, we'll let you know what may be causing your pain and what steps you can take to get your oral health back to a condition you can smile about.
Tooth Crown Pain: Causes And Treatment
A tooth crown is used to cap a damaged, weak, or decaying tooth. They're generally used to help maintain its size, strength, shape, and appearance while protecting your tooth from further damage. According to the Cleveland Clinic, crowns can last anywhere from about 5 to 15 years, depending on "wear and tear" and oral hygiene practices.
Learn more about crowns.
You may be experiencing throbbing tooth pain under your crown for any number of reasons, like:
A Traumatized Nerve or Infection
If you didn't have a proper root canal procedure to remove your tooth pulp (the center of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are), your crown could be putting pressure on a traumatized nerve. It's also possible you have an infection.
In either case, it may be necessary for your dental professional to perform a root canal, which could require the removal of the crown. In some instances, your dentist may be 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 save on costs because crowns often can't be reused after being removed.
If you grind your teeth during sleep (bruxism), you could experience pain from the consistent biting down, grinding pressure being put on your crown, especially if your teeth aren't aligned, and high areas of your teeth are rubbing together. You may also experience pain in your jaw muscles upon waking, long-lasting pain and occasional swelling in the lower part of your face or jaw, and of course, if you share a bed with someone else, they may complain of a grinding sound while you're sleeping.
Try relaxing your jaw muscles using a warm, moist washcloth on your cheeks before going to sleep. Meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety before you go to bed. You can also get some relief from generic mouth guards purchased at a drug store or online.
If you continue grinding your teeth, speak with your dental professional about other potential remedies that can help you. If you grind your teeth during the day, biofeedback can be helpful. According to the Mayo Clinic, biofeedback uses sensors to monitor the electrical activity that causes muscle contraction. By having a newfound awareness of when you're clenching your teeth, you may be better able to control the tension in your jaw.
An Issue With Your Crown
If your cap doesn't fit properly, or you have an older crown that's been damaged, the crown itself could be responsible for your sensitivity. This would require a replacement.
If you're trying to relieve some of your pain until you can get in to see your dental professional, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be helpful. Oftentimes, hot and cold foods increase tooth pain sensitivity, so sticking to foods with moderate temperatures can be helpful.
There are toothpaste and mouthrinses made specifically for sensitive teeth, too. These products contain ingredients that numb your nerve endings and help you until you can get a professional diagnosis and treatment.
If you have tooth crown pain that persists and the measures you take at home don't provide immediate relief, the sooner you make an appointment with your dental professional for a diagnosis, the better. It's important to identify and address the cause as quickly as possible because this type of pain rarely goes away on its own. Get into your dentist's office, explain your symptoms, and they'll help you get back to having oral health you can smile about.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.