Could Ill-fitting Crown Be the Source of Severe Jaw/ear Pain?

I cracked my lower left second molar, had to have a crown put on. It was sitting too high. Took a couple months to get back in for adjustment. I am now experiencing excruciating pain in my ear and jaw. Ibuprofen only takes the edge off and only for about half the recommended time. What could be causing this pain, and what are some ways to help manage it? Was not hurting before. Crown seems to fit now but very sensitive. Cannot eat, sleep due to pain.

Doctor Answers 6

Jaw Pain After Back Crown Placed

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First of all, if you were uncomfortable with your recent dental work it was your responsibility to call your dentist to alert him to your problem, not wait months to get back for any post crown cementation sensitivity or jaw pain.  When a patient lets things go too long, it usually makes the treatment longer and more difficult. 

As the other dentists have stated, your jaw pain is most likely due to your bite not being even, which if detected, your dentist would have done months ago when you should have gone back to see him, but now will most likely due at your appointment.  However, if you had deep decay or any fractures in your tooth even before your crown was placed, you might end up needing a root canal treatment. 

Regardless, best thing for you to do is get back to see your dentist ASAP!

Laguna Niguel Dentist

Fracture/ Cracked Tooth... Correct Diagnosis?

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Did this cracked tooth have a root canal?  Did the dentist mention whether the nerve/pulp of the tooth was close?  Did you traumatize the tooth by falling or hitting something towards your face?  Does your bite feel normal?  Did you have a new x-ray taken?  Has your bite been checked again to make sure the occlusion is acceptable?

These are some of the possibilities for a diagnosis:

  1. Cracked tooth below the gum into the bone
  2. Need for root canal..nerve involvement
  3. TMJ issues
  4. Infection/decay in tooth
  5. Infection in the bone

I would suggest seeing a Periodontist for a complete evaluation ASAP.


Eric Linden, DMD, MSD
New York Periodontist

Could Ill-fitting Crown Be the Source of Severe Jaw/ear Pain?

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It is very possible that a new restoration that is high could cause the bite to be off which in turn could result in joint and/or ear pain.  Since you had no symptoms prior to the treatment, it is possible to conclude that it is the new crown. You should see your dentist and have him  or her adjust it.  If the crown is high it will not adjust itself.  A contributing factor to cracking the tooth may be that your bite is off to begin with. Your dentist should look into this also. 

Could Ill-fitting Crown Be the Source of Severe Jaw/ear Pain?

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You waited too long to have the bite adjusted.  You may have acute TMJ syndrome or a dying nerve which would require a root canal, if the bite adjustment has not eliminated the pain.

Murray Bruckel, DDS
Norwalk Dentist

Jaw pain is not normal

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Consult with your dentist ASAP.  It sounds like you may need a root canal therapy.  The tooth may also be cracked down the root.  That is less likely but it is usually recognized during a root canal therapy.  If a root fracture is found, the tooth is going to need to be extracted and you may need to consider a dental implant restoration.  

Hank D. Michael, DMD - Dentist in Sarasota, FL

Hank D. Michael, DMD
Sarasota Dentist

Jaw Pain

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It sounds as if the nerve may be dying in your tooth. In a small percentage of teeth following crown placements the nerve dies and a root canal is needed. Your tooth was severely damaged prior to the crown prep. I suggest you go back to your dentist and get a referral to an endodontist for evaluation.

Ana Brightleaf, DMD
Santa Monica Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.