Are dental crowns painful? Understanding the procedure and aftercare

Are dental crowns painful? Understanding the procedure and aftercare

October 1, 2023

Dental crowns repair and protect damaged teeth while restoring a natural appearance. You may feel slight discomfort during the crown procedure, but it is only minimal for most patients. Understanding the process and caring for a new crown can help minimize pain levels.

What Are Dental Crowns?

Crowns are tooth-shaped covers placed over a damaged or decayed tooth. The dentist files down the tooth to make room for the crown cap, taking an impression to create the restoration. Crowns are made of durable materials like porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, or a combination.

Placing a crown requires two appointments – one to prepare the tooth and take impressions and another to cement the permanent crown after the lab fabricates it.

Is There Pain During the Procedure?

You’ll receive a local anesthetic before the dentist does any grinding or shaping, so you’ll only feel pressure and vibration rather than pain. Your dentist may also do the following to help minimize discomfort:

  • Applying a gel to numb your gums
  • Using an anesthetic without epinephrine to extend numbness
  • Giving nitrous oxide laughing gas during the procedure
  • Offering medications to relax you

Let your dentist know if you feel discomfort during the procedure so they can immediately adjust the anesthesia. Most patients have little to no pain thanks to sufficient numbing.

What About Pain Afterward?

It’s common to have some temperature sensitivity and tenderness following the placement of a new crown. You may notice minor soreness at the site as your numbness wears off. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen are usually adequate to relieve post-crown discomfort. Take them as directed on the bottle. Icing the site helps as well.

Severe or worsening pain after a crown indicates a problem. Contact your dental office immediately if this occurs, as the crown may need to be adjusted or redone.

Caring for Your Crown After Placement

Proper care ensures your crown heals comfortably:

  • Avoid chewing on the crowned tooth until numbness fully wears off to prevent biting your cheek.
  • Stick to soft foods for the first day or two.
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene, but avoid aggressive brushing right on the crown at first.
  • Use desensitizing toothpaste if you experience temperature sensitivity.
  • See your dentist promptly if you have concerns like loosening, discomfort, or damage to the crown.

Follow all your dentist’s post-op instructions carefully for smooth healing.

Getting a Permanent Crown After a Temporary

If you receive a temporary crown initially, you’ll return about 2-3 weeks later to have the permanent crown placed once the lab fabricates it. This involves:

  • Removing the temporary crown
  • Trying in and checking the fit of the permanent crown
  • Making any adjustments needed to the permanent crown
  • Cementing the permanent crown securely into place

Since no major tooth preparation is needed, you’ll hardly experience discomfort. Some sensitivity is still common as you adjust to your permanent crown.

Do Porcelain Crowns Cause More Discomfort?

Porcelain mimics the look of natural teeth, but they are not more painful than a metal crown. However, porcelain conducts hot and cold temperatures, whereas metal does not. This means porcelain teeth crowns transmit temperature changes to the underlying tooth more. You’ll likely experience sensitivity to hot and cold foods or beverages that dissipate as your tooth adjusts. We Care Dental offers porcelain dental crowns near you.

Relieving Pain and Sensitivity

If you have ongoing sensitivity or discomfort from your new crown, visit our dental clinic, We Care Dental, for an adjustment. They’ll check the fit and bite alignment and look for any irritation causes.

The dentist has several options for reducing post-crown pain:

  • Adjusting the crown
  • Prescribing a strong fluoride treatment
  • Applying a desensitizing in-office gel
  • Recommending desensitizing toothpaste

Don’t hesitate to call a dental office near you or We Care Dental if your new crown is uncomfortable. A quick adjustment typically resolves the issue.