Crowns are used to cover parts of a decayed or damaged tooth. They appear like natural teeth and protect the tooth from incurring more damage. Crowns are hollow and can only replace teeth that are damaged but not lost. They are perfect for people who have undergone root canals, need to cover a large filling, have tooth discolouration or have sustained cracks and breaks to their tooth. However, crowns need to be replaced and some people report sensitivity after this procedure.
Below you’ll find seven remedies to help you deal with tooth sensitivity. But first, we need to explore why our teeth can be sensitive after we get a crown replaced.
What causes sensitive teeth following crown replacement?
- Cavities: When too much plaque builds up, cavities can form. When the decay from the cavity spreads under the crown, the underlying nerve tissues gets inflamed and causes major discomfort. Should this occur, your dentist will need to drill a tiny hole into the crown to remove the infected nerves and the tissues that surround it. This process is called root canal therapy and is necessary to repair the damage.
- Root death: Tooth roots are sensitive to bacterial damage. When the roots are severely damaged, they die which leads to tooth abscess, a painful infection that develops at the root or between the gum and tooth. Root canal therapy will correct this. But, there is a chance the the infection can recur and the crown will need to be replaced again.
- Root fracture: When cracks appear in the outer hard layer of the tooth, it becomes damaged. A fracture then develops in the root making it painful to chew. The only way to fix this issue is to remove the crown and entire tooth.
- Cement leakage: When the cement used to bond the crown to the tooth doesn’t dry properly, it can leak. Cement leakage causes the crown to shift or even fall off creating pain. Your dentist will replace the crown and ensure that the cement fully bonds to the tooth.
- Gum infection: The gums around your crowned tooth can recede which exposes part of the root. When our roots are exposed, we become more sensitive to hot and cold. Exposed roots can also pave the way for more plaque buildup and infections. In this case, the crown may not need to be replaced and your dentist will recommend a mouthwash that is designed to treat gum infection.
- Bruxism: This is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth so forcefully that the pressure traumatizes the tooth.
Remedies for tooth pain and sensitivity after crown replacement
The moment you feel any sensitivity or pain after crown replacement, you should contact your dentist. In the meantime, you can try these home remedies to keep further damage from happening and to quell the pain.
- If you do suffer from bruxism, purchase an over-the-counter mouthguard for temporary relief. Your dentist will fit you for a professional mouthguard.
- No matter how much pain you are in, you must keep up with your oral hygiene routine. Continuing to brush and floss your teeth daily will help keep bacteria at bay and make sure the infection (if that’s what’s causing your tooth sensitivity) doesn’t spread.
- Exercise can give you brief but effective relief from tooth pain. When we move, our body releases endorphins. These are our body’s natural pain relievers and can help curb tooth sensitivity for a short time.
- Using relaxation techniques like deep breathing, listening to soothing sounds or sitting in a warm bath can provide short-lived relief from tooth pain. Relaxation is meant to take your mind off the toothache but it doesn’t work for everybody.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water. The salt helps draw out excess fluid that may be lurking around the gums or near the crown. Salt helps clean the infected areas and can soothe sensitivity momentarily. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of salt with warm water, then swish the mixture around in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting.
- You can treat your tooth pain like it is a headache and take aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen to dull the ache. Only take the pills as directed and do not exceed the indicated dosage.
- Wrap ice or an ice pack in a towel and gently press it against your cheek where the crown is to reduce swelling and alleviate the pain. Do not apply ice directly to the sensitive tooth because it will make the pain worse.
How to keep your crowns in good shape
If you keep up with your oral hygiene, crowns should last for 10 or more years before needing a replacement. Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and brush, floss and use mouthwash daily. It’s important to remember that crowns are not as strong as your natural teeth, so avoid eating hard foods.
If your teeth are sensitive following crown replacement, please contact us. At Dawson Dental we can treat the problem before it gets worse.