Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

October 12, 2011

My temporary crowns hurt

Hi Dr Hall,
I recently had two crowns replaced on the upper right side. The gap between the old crowns was too big and too much food getting trapped there. I had temp crowns for a total of three weeks, while I waited for my permanent ones to be ready. Unfortunately, the last week the temp crowns smelled, tasted horrible and I started to feel some pain. My dentist assured me that the pain would disappear once the new crowns where cemented in. The pain did not disappear and it only increased in the days after the permanent crowns where put in. I went back to the dentist and he explained the maybe the bite was off. He did a little drilling to fix the bite and now it hurts only in that one area but pain is still there. The pain comes and goes but it hurst to chew on that side or bite down on that side. Is this common? He assured me that I did not need a root canal. Thanks
– Larissa from New York

Larissa,
There are various types of pain that you can have when you are wearing temporary crowns, or when you have a new crown. Some are serious, and others aren’t.

Three weeks is a little long to be wearing temporary crowns. The last week you were wearing them and they smelled and then started to hurt, what was happening there is that they were beginning to leak, and microscopic particles were getting in between the temporary crowns and the teeth. Those trapped particles started to smell, and since they were in direct contact with the porous dentin of your teeth, they would also irritate the teeth.

I have had that kind of pain while wearing a temporary crown, and it was very uncomfortable. I do think your dentist should have explained better what would happen once the crowns were cemented. The cement is an additional irritant of the tooth, and the sensitivity could increase right after they are cemented, but then it would gradually subside and disappear. If it didn’t subside and go away, it would mean that the irritation was too much for the tooth, and it may end up needing root canal treatment.

The pain to biting is probably a separate issue. I would assume that the bite just needs to be adjusted until it is comfortable. There is a chance, however, that everything – all the irritation from being worked on, etc., has caused the pulp in one or both of the teeth to die, which would then begin to irritate the ligament that holds the tooth in. It would be prudent, at your next checkup, to ask that the roots of these teeth be x-rayed, just to make sure everything is okay. Especially if the sensitivity to biting or chewing never really completely goes away.

Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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