It’s common for people to experience tooth sensitivity after a dental procedure like the fitting of a crown. However, since it can be quite uncomfortable, especially considering it’s often accompanied by pain, many people wonder how long it will last.
But others worry if sensitivity is a sign of a more serious oral health problem. And these fears aren’t unwarranted because sensitive teeth after crown placement can be indicative of something more serious.
What Does Tooth Sensitivity After Dental Crowns Feel Like?
Tooth sensitivity is not the same as having pain after dental crowns. When you have sensitive teeth, you’ll experience discomfort when your teeth are exposed to:
- Hot and cold temperatures
- Consuming sweet
- Pressure (from biting, grinding, and chewing)
- Air (when you’re breathing)
This sensation can be felt around the area where the crown touches the gum line. A sharp, shooting pain can also occur in conjunction with this.
Normally, this sensitivity shouldn’t worsen. In fact, it should start to get better with time.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth After Crown Placement?
Sensitivity after crown placement can occur due to multiple factors, which are as follows:
Tooth sensitivity after dental crowns is usually caused by the exposure of the yellowish tissue that makes up the middle layer of the tooth – dentin.
This can happen from the tooth shaving that’s required for dental crowns.
Keep in mind that this dentin envelopes the soft pulp tissue, which contains nerves and blood vessels.
So, when the dentin is exposed, it also stimulates the nerves within the pulp, which, in turn, causes tooth sensitivity.
However, this is only temporary, so you don’t need to worry about it. Even though the enamel is shaved, the crown itself will act as a protective covering for the dentin.
Irritation From Dental Cement
Dental cement is the material that helps in the attachment of the crown to the underlying tooth. It’s commonly used in different types of restorations, including crowns.
However, one problem that can result from the use of dental cement is that they can cause irritation. This irritation can make the teeth sensitive after the placement of the crown.
But, again, you don’t need to worry about this because it’s only temporary and resolves on its own after a few days.
If the dental crown hasn’t been fitted properly, it would not only cause sensitivity but also pain.
This can happen if the crown hasn’t been cemented properly, it’s too large, placed too high up on the tooth, or is not covering it properly.
If this is the case, your tooth will feel sensitive every time you bite down onto food (pressure stimulus). And it won’t go away until the crown is fitted properly.
Dental crowns essentially reshape the teeth, both inwardly and outwardly. However, your dentist has to make sure that it doesn’t cause any bite problems.
These occur when the teeth in the upper and lower jaw are misaligned. And it can lead to many problems, one of which is tooth sensitivity.
Keep in mind that if this is the problem, your teeth might feel more and more sensitive over time. It may also affect the tooth below the crown (opposite jaw).
If you have a habit of clenching and grinding your teeth – bruxism – you might be at greater risk of experiencing sensitive teeth after crown placement.
Here, you should also remember that teeth grinding can result in the breakage of your dental crown, so you should be very careful.
Trauma During Procedure
Trauma during the shaving and placement of the crown can become another cause of tooth sensitivity. For instance, this can happen from frictional heating during tooth preparation.
It can also happen if the irritation of the gum tissue has resulted in inflammation. Or it may be due to inflammation of the tissues inside the pulp that have gotten irritated during the crown placement.
This may be temporary, however, in some cases, it can result in irreversible damage. If the latter occurs, your dentist might recommend a root canal for cleaning up the inside of the tooth.
To avoid this scenario as best as you can, make sure to take the medications prescribed to you and follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions.
How Long Are Teeth Sensitive After Crowns?
After crowns, your teeth might feel sensitive for up to a week; however, sometimes, it may last as long as 3 months.
Just keep in mind that sensitive teeth are normal and even expected after the fitting of crowns.
After a month has passed, the crowns should start to feel like your natural teeth. It is something that will resolve on its own, so you need to give it time.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity Months After Crowns?
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity quite a few months after the crown has been fitted, it could be due to cavities, infection, or gum disease.
In tooth decay, the tooth nerve can get affected, which is what ends up causing sensitivity. Bacteria from an infection can irritate the nerves inside the tooth pulp, which causes the same problem.
And gum disease can lead to recession of gums, which can expose the tooth roots, causing sensitivity.
The problems will be accompanied by other symptoms, so make sure to get in touch with a dental professional immediately.
How Can You Reduce Tooth Sensitivity After Dental Crowns?
There are some things that you can do at home to relieve sensitivity.
- Use Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth – The compounds in these kinds of toothpaste protect the exposed nerves. It will provide temporary relief by preventing them from being stimulated by irritants.
- Practise Good Hygiene – Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes (at least), but make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush as it will be gentler.
- Avoid Certain Foods – For a while, it would be better to avoid foods that are too hot or cold, like tea, coffee, or ice cream. When drinking something, you can consider using a straw so that the liquids don’t wash over your teeth.
- Wear A Night Guard – If you have a habit of biting your teeth, you should consider wearing a night guard to better protect your teeth.
In any case, keep your dentist updated about your progress, and if it gets worse, get help as soon as possible.
Sensitivity after dental crowns is something that many people experience and it’s expected. Usually, though, it resolves in about a week and your teeth should start feeling normal again.
However, sometimes, it can persist and worsen. You can even develop tooth sensitivity months and months after the placement of the crowns if the underlying tooth develops a problem.
Just make sure to inform your dentist if at any point you feel like you’re not recovering normally.
Reviewed and approved by Dr Izbel Aksit