Dental Crown Tooth Pain: Causes and Treatment (2023)

Got crown pain? While a dental crown can effectively cover and protect a damaged tooth, many people are surprised to learn that it won’t safeguard them from tooth pain.

In fact, a crowned tooth is just as prone to problems as a regular tooth.

You might have discomfort, sensitivity, or pressure where the crown sits. Or, you may experience a constant toothache.

There are many reasons your dental crown can hurt. In this article, you’ll learn more about what could be causing your pain and ways to alleviate it.

A dental crown is a cap that’s placed over a damaged tooth. It’s cemented into place and covers the part of the tooth that you see.

The crown’s job is to restore a tooth’s size and shape, while providing protection. Sometimes, dental crowns are placed on either side of a missing tooth to hold a bridge (a prosthetic that fills a space in your mouth).

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Crowns are made of different materials, including porcelain, ceramic, and metal.

You might need a dental crown after a root canal procedure to protect the tooth. Or, your dentist might recommend a crown if you have a:

There are many reasons you may experience pain in a crowned tooth, including:

Tooth decay under the crown

Because the tooth under the dental crown is still alive, tooth decay or a new cavity can form at the border of the tooth and the crown. This can lead to persistent pain in the area.

If a tooth cavity grows large enough and affects the nerve, you might need a root canal procedure.


If you didn’t have a root canal before your crown was placed, the tooth still has nerves in it. Sometimes, the crown puts pressure on a traumatized nerve, and an infection occurs. Or, infections can result from old fillings underneath the crown that leak bacteria that infects the nerve.

Signs of infection include:

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  • pain when you bite
  • gum swelling
  • sensitivity to temperature
  • fever

Sore gums from a crown procedure

You might have temporary discomfort after a procedure to place your crown. This pain shouldn’t last longer than 2 weeks or so. Talk to a dentist if you’re experiencing a lot of pain following a crown procedure, or if you have pain that doesn’t go away after 2 weeks.

A fractured tooth or crown

A cracked crown or tooth underneath a crown can cause mild pain. You might experience sensitivity to cold, heat, or air because of the crack. If you notice your crown is broken, loose, or cracked, you’ll need to have it fixed.

Teeth grinding (bruxism)

Grinding your teeth at night, a condition called bruxism, can put pressure on your crown and cause pain.

Recessed gums

You might notice pain and sensitivity if the gums around your crowned tooth have receded and exposed part of the tooth’s root. Gum recession can be caused by harsh brushing. When gums recede, they’re more vulnerable to plaque buildup and gum disease.

The crown doesn’t fit correctly

If your crown doesn’t fit correctly, it may lead to discomfort. An improper fit might also affect your bite or smile. Pain when you bite down usually means the crown is too high on the tooth.

A dental crown should adjust into your bite just as your other teeth do. If your bite feels “off,” it could also lead to jaw pain and headaches.

Treatment for dental crown pain depends on the cause and severity. Some simple measures that may help relieve the discomfort are:

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Pain medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can provide temporary relief if you have a toothache.

Saltwater rinse

Rinsing your mouth with saltwater may lessen inflammation and reduce pain. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with warm water and swish it around for about 30 seconds. Repeat the rinse several times a day.

Herbal remedies

Although the effectiveness isn’t scientifically proven, some people report pain relief after using herbal remedies. Some of these can be applied directly to the affected tooth. Popular herbs for tooth pain include:

  • clove
  • garlic
  • turmeric
  • ginger
  • chamomile

Problematic foods

Steering clear of sticky, sweet, and hard foods after getting a crown may help lessen your pain. Hot and cold foods can also be triggers. Try eating foods at room temperature.

Treatment for bruxism

If clenching or grinding is the source of your pain, your doctor may recommend certain treatments for your bruxism. Mouth guards and mouth splints are sometimes options.

If your tooth pain is severe or doesn’t go away, you should see a dentist. You may need a root canal, a crown replacement, or tooth removal.

Good dental hygiene can protect you from dental crown pain. Be sure to:

  • brush twice a day
  • floss daily
  • see a dentist for regular checkups

Additionally, avoid chewing hard foods, like ice, which can damage a crown.

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You might experience some discomfort after having a crown placed, but after a couple of weeks, it shouldn’t hurt.

Infections, cavities, fractured teeth, or other issues may be the cause of your pain. If your toothache doesn’t go away, see a dentist, so you can figure out what’s going on.


How do I know if my tooth crown is infected? ›

Here are the signs of a tooth crown infection: Redness at or around the site of the crown placement. Swelling of the gums or jaw around the area that now has the crown. Tenderness or pain around the crown.

Is it normal for a permanent crown to hurt? ›

Some sensitivity is normal after this procedure, but you should visit a dentist for a check up after the procedure to ensure your crown fits perfectly, especially if persistent pain or sensitivity occurs. It's also possible that your crown, particularly if you've had it a while, is damaged or coming loose.

Why does my crown hurt 6 months later? ›

Pain that comes up unexpectedly after successful use for many months may indicate decay that has advanced well after the crown treatment, or it could indicate a problem with the crown. Sometimes a crown does not fit in with your bite properly.

Why is my crowned tooth hurting? ›

Because the tooth under the dental crown is still alive, tooth decay or a new cavity can form at the border of the tooth and the crown. This can lead to persistent pain in the area. If a tooth cavity grows large enough and affects the nerve, you might need a root canal procedure.

Can a crown be removed and put back on? ›

It is very rare that an old crown can be saved or reused since it will typically need to be cut into sections as it is removed from the tooth. For your comfort, the tooth and gum tissue will be numbed with a local anesthetic during this procedure.

How do you know if something is wrong with your crown? ›

If your crown is failing, then you may notice a change in how your crowned tooth feels when you bite down, drink something, or run your tongue over your tooth. If you notice any movement, then you need to see a dentist right away, because crowns should not move at all.

Will antibiotics help an infected crown? ›

When you are suffering from a tooth infection, you may want an easy solution, such as a course of antibiotics. However, antibiotics won't cure your tooth infection. Oral bacterial infections cause abscesses, which are small pockets of pus and dead tissue in the mouth.

Is an infected crown an emergency? ›

You should seek emergency dental care if you lose a crown or filling and experience any signs of infection, since bacteria from these infections can spread to other areas of your body. This can lead to life-threatening symptoms if the infection is left untreated.

When does crown sensitivity go away? ›

Crown sensitivity is very common and typically calms down within 1-2 weeks. If you notice pain when you bite, your crown may be too high and needs an adjustment.

Why is my crown sensitive after 3 months? ›

Temporary Tissue Inflammation

This type of temporary sensitivity is generally a result of tissue inflammation that can occur within the pulp tissues, which may become irritated during the dental crown procedure. In most cases, tooth sensitivity caused by inflammation will resolve on its own as the tissues heal.

Can a dental crown be removed? ›

Temporary crown removal is straightforward. The dentist near you will use a soft adhesive to make it easy to remove the crowns. Permanently crowns are, however, challenging to remove. The process may be more complicated than the first procedure.

Can a root canal be done through an existing crown? ›

You will need a new crown after having the root canal because the structural integrity of the crown would have been compromised. The root canal performed can become reinfected again if the old crown is used.

How do I know if I need a root canal after a crown? ›

Specific Signs That You May Need a Root Canal Include:

A hole, chip, or crack in your tooth. Significant toothache pain while chewing, or serious tooth pain when putting pressure on the tooth. Tenderness or swelling of the gum area surrounding the tooth. Additional swelling around your face and/or neck.

What causes an abscess under a crown? ›

Bacteria can enter the innermost part of the tooth through either a deep cavity or a chip or crack in your tooth. The resulting infection and inflammation can cause an abscess at the tip of the root. A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that's caused by a bacterial infection.

Can you get a cavity under a crown? ›

Dental crowns are an effective tool in restoring damaged or decayed teeth. Even though crowns are not expected to last forever, patients might assume they no longer need to worry about getting a cavity in the crowned tooth. Unfortunately, it is possible to get cavities under a dental crown.

What does tooth decay under a crown look like? ›

Brown and Grey Spots in the Affected Area

Brown and grey spot formations are a distinct visual indicator of a potential infection or tooth decay under a dental crown. Spots can be visible on the white portion of a veneer, almost appearing like mould.

Can dental crowns get infected? ›

Dental crowns can last for years as long as you continue to practice good oral hygiene and avoid trauma to the crown itself. Still, problems can arise, including the development of an infection which requires a trip to your dentist to determine the right treatment to implement.

Should my tooth be black under a crown? ›

Is it normal for my tooth to look black under my crown? It's not supposed to darken. Most of the time, tooth discoloration is caused by bacteria getting in the dental crown. It can also be the result of an inadequate seal on the crown.

How many times can crowns be replaced? ›

You can replace the crown as many times as you want if there is nothing wrong with it. What we mean by that is that there is no tooth decay underneath the cap. In this case, your dentist can simply remove it and just remake a new one without harming the underlying tooth structure.

How do you know if you have decay under a crown? ›

Symptoms of tooth decay under a crown

Inflamed, swollen gums. Increased tooth sensitivity. Toothaches or pain. Visible grey or brown spots at the base of the tooth.

Can a dentist adjust a crown? ›

A temporary crown can easily be adjusted since, if need be, it's easily removeable or adjusted. However, a permanent crown takes a few more steps to be fixed. In order to reshape a permanent crown, a dental professional will first examine the mouth and see what the root cause is.

Can crowns cause nerve damage? ›

If your dental crown was fitted without a prior root canal, your tooth has remaining nerves. Dental crowns occasionally push down on these nerves, causing trauma and inflammation. Alternatively, old fillings beneath your crown may wear away, causing bacteria to develop, resulting in nerve infection.

What is the best painkiller for tooth nerve pain? ›

“Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or naproxen work well with dental pain because they reduce inflammation,” says Huang. Recent data has shown the combination of Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) is as effective as prescription opioids for tooth pain.

Can bacteria grow under a crown? ›

Oral bacteria are tricky little rascals, and they can make their way underneath a crown, particularly if the person does not have good oral hygiene. When these bacteria get underneath the crown, they begin to convert any sugars that make their way into the crown to acids that eat away at enamel.

What will dentist do if crown is infected? ›

Treatment for decay or infection below a crown may entail: Removing the existing crown. Addressing the decay by filling or extracting the remainder of the tooth. Creating a new crown to accommodate the filling and what remains of the tooth.

Can you have an abscess under a crown? ›

Anyone with a suspected abscess, jaw swelling, jaw pain or tooth pain who feels a hard lump in the mouth should see a dentist as soon as possible. Q: Can dental abscesses develop next to or underneath a crown, dentures, dental implant or a dental bridge? A: Yes.

How long does it take for crown pain to go away? ›

You might experience temporary discomfort after dental crown placement. However, the pain should not last for over two weeks. Unfortunately, if it does after getting dental crowns near you without subsiding after two weeks, you must discuss the issue with the provider for assistance.

How long does it take for crown to stop hurting? ›

The recovery period after a dental crown procedure typically lasts for a few days, as the body recovers from the irritation and inflammation associated with the procedure. It is normal for patients to experience some sensitivity, discomfort or pain initially, which should subside after the first few days.

How long does it take for a crown to settle? ›

The patient may feel the new crown bulkier immediately after placement eventually the patient gets adjusted to the new crown in little over 2 weeks. If it doesn't feel good after that also he may need to visit the dentist office again.

Can you get an infection under a crown? ›

Decaying under a Crown can affect your oral health and cause issues like bad breath or sore gums. In addition, the decay can spread deep into the tooth, causing an infection that may require tooth removal.

Will nerve pain go away after crown? ›

Typically, this pain is reversible and is a response of the tooth cells being temporarily injured during treatment. The discomfort is usually described as weak, dull, or cold sensitive and resolves on it's own in about two weeks.

Can a crown be removed? ›

Temporary crown removal is straightforward. The dentist near you will use a soft adhesive to make it easy to remove the crowns. Permanently crowns are, however, challenging to remove. The process may be more complicated than the first procedure.

Why does my crowned tooth hurt when I bite down? ›

If your dental crown is too high or improperly positioned, that may result in moderate to severe pain in your tooth when biting down. If your bite feels off after getting a crown and you feel pain when biting down, you may want to consider asking a dentist if the crown is loose or if it needs to be adjusted.

What happens if a dental crown doesn't fit properly? ›

What happens when a crown doesn't fit correctly? A crown with a less than ideal fit can cause problems with oral health and overall health. It can cause a misaligned bite that leads to bite issues, cheek biting, a cracked tooth, or even jaw problems like temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).

Can a permanent crown be reshaped? ›

Small adjustments can be made to permanent crowns once on but, an attempt to avoid even these small adjustments is made in order to leave the crown in the best shape possible. This will ensure a long life for the crown as well as the best look overall.

When should I be worried about a crown? ›

You Experience Pain or Swelling

As soon as you notice pain, swelling, or inflammation surrounding a crowned tooth, it's time to see a dentist. For example, if you notice increased pain or sensitivity when chewing, your crown could be too high on the tooth, damaged, old, or in need of replacement.

Can a dental crown be redone? ›

Tooth decay

If the tooth underneath the dental crown decays, the crown may need to be replaced. The old crown will need to be removed to treat the decay beneath and then a new one can be made.


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