Dental crowns are a common way that dentists repair a broken or decayed tooth. Patients with dental crowns can experience problems. Some of those problems are common just after your dentist places the crown on your tooth, and others can occur years down the road.
Many people experience short-term issues with dental crowns that cause noticeable symptoms. These symptoms typically cause the patient to assume something is “wrong” with the crown, when actually, they are just common post-op side effects.
Tenderness when Chewing
It is common for a crown to cause the underlying tooth to feel sore or tender when chewing in the first few weeks after placement. The source of this soreness is usually the nerves of the periodontal ligament, which connect the roots of the tooth to the surrounding jawbone. Any changes in the bite forces on a tooth can irritate or bruise this ligament.
It is very important for you to notify your dentist of any problems with the bite on a new crown. If the crown feels like it is too “tall” or it is the only tooth hitting when you try to bite all of your teeth together, this will continually aggravate the nerves in the ligament, making it continually sore. If you feel that the bite is not the way it was before the crown, you should return to the dentist for an adjustment. This quick and easy procedure can fix the problem almost immediately.
Sensitivity to Cold
Sometimes, the placement procedure (when your dentist removes the temporary crown and affixes the final crown) can irritate the nerve within the tooth and make it hypersensitive. This often causes sensitivity to cold in the tooth with the new crown. People often complain of a sharp zing or pain when they drink something that is ice cold.
Sensitivity to sweets and hot temperatures is a potential side effect of the hypersensitive nerve, but much less common than the cold sensitivity. This cold sensitivity might be aggravated by a problem with the bite, so a symptom that lasts longer than two weeks should spur you to see your dentist for an evaluation and adjustment if necessary.
Even after you have had a dental crown for decades, you can experience problems with it. These long-term problems require additional treatment on the tooth, usually involving replacement of the original crown.
New Decay at the Crown’s Edge
The most common reason that dental crowns require replacement is because the tooth develops a new cavity at the edge of the crown where it meets natural tooth structure. The bacteria in dental plaque cannot penetrate the crown, but they can penetrate into the tooth structure right at the edge of the crown.
Decay at the edge of a crown can grow under the crown and into the nerve causing a toothache and a dental infection. The crown blocks the photons of an x-ray, so we cannot see how far decay goes underneath a crown without removing it. Decay at the edge of a crown always requires replacement of the crown.
Dying or Dead Nerve within the Tooth
Many teeth with dental crowns suffer from a dying or dead nerve within the tooth. This can happen weeks, months, years, or even decades after the initial placement of the crown. All teeth are hollow, with the nerve and blood vessels living inside the center of the tooth. When this tissue dies, it can lead to toothache pain and a dangerous dental infection.
A dead or dying nerve inside a tooth requires treatment with a root canal. Sometimes, your dentist can perform the root canal without removing the existing crown, and in other cases, we must remove and replace the original crown. Each situation has its own unique determining factors in that regard.
Fracture of the Crown
Dental crowns come in a wide variety of materials these days. The first crowns were gold, and they did not have the risk of fracturing that newer, more cosmetic materials have. Porcelain is beautiful and strong, but it is brittle. Under heavy forces, porcelain can crack and break.
A cracked crown can leave sharp edges that cut the lips, cheeks and tongue. If the fracture causes a loss of structure between the teeth, you could also suffer from food impaction. That can lead to gum disease or cavities between the teeth.
More Questions about Dental Crowns?
Call Rockland Dental Specialists today to schedule a consultation with our dental experts. We can assess your dental crown for signs of any problems. We also love helping our patients maintain the health of their teeth with crowns for a lifetime. Call us at (845) 259-2500 or complete our online contact form today!