What are my options for pain in a crowned tooth that doesn't have a root canal?

The molar had a fracture so the dentist said I needed a crown. I did not get a root canal. Since having the crown placed, I have discomfort when I bite hard things - chips, nuts, etc. I had the dentist adjust the bite but I still have the pain. What's frustrating is I had no pain or problems before this crown. Am I just stuck with this pain? Do I need to get a root canal now?

Doctor Answers 2

What are my options for pain in a crowned tooth that doesn't have a root canal?

Go to an endodontist (root canal specialist) and have some testing done. What I most concerned about is that the crack you had is working its way down your tooth into your roots or nerve. Often called cracked tooth syndrome. Your endodontist will tell you his "prognosis", meaning how likely it is that he will be able to save the tooth and get you out of pain, or else if the tooth has cracked too deep, he may not be able to save it at all.

You dentist did the right thing in crowning your tooth. He also adjusted the bite to ensure that you are not hitting unnecessarily hard on your tooth, which was good.

Many times post treatment pain (after a crown, deep filling, veneer or onlay) will go away with time. Called "reversable pulpitis", this is common to some extent and usually resolves after a few weeks or months. If it continues more than six months or gets worse, then you should definitely return to the endodontist and have the root canal.

Laguna Niguel Dentist


Some times the dentist is too late when a fracture is discovered. The pain would have come eventually, so it wasn't really CAUSED by the dentist. Usually if waiting for the pain, the fracture progresses and loss of tooth is the result.

Sometimes short term use of something like a medrol dose pack is all you need. The chemical reaction of the crown cement can sting and the nerve needs the cycle of pain to be disrupted.

If bite adjustment and medrol dose pack doesn't work, then the root canal is likely best. One COULD simply redo the crown and see if that helps, but if the nerve still needs treatment, then you have spun your wheels.

Lance Timmerman, DMD, MAGD
Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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