How Long Does Tooth Sensitivity After Crown Placement Last?

While dental crowns are highly effective in repairing damaged teeth, it’s not uncommon for tooth sensitivity to follow their placement. In these cases, the crowned tooth is very sensitive to heat and cold, and it can hurt when biting. Tooth sensitivity after a crown usually resolves on its own within a few days. However, it can sometimes be a sign of more serious problems that require additional treatment.

The associated discomfort arises due to the middle layer of the tooth, or dentin, becoming exposed, which stimulates nerves within the crowned tooth. This can occur if there’s tooth decay, infection, or a poorly-fitting crown, among other things. However, precautions can be taken to prevent tooth sensitivity following placement, and special kinds of toothpaste can help ease symptoms.

If you have a crown or will be getting one, an understanding of the symptoms and causes of tooth sensitivity—as well as what to do about it—is critical.  

Verywell / Laura Porter

What Are the Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth?

After placement of the crown, you may start feeling tooth sensitivity as soon as the Novocaine or numbing agent has worn off. Primary symptoms include:

  • Pain: While not present in every case, tooth sensitivity pain is sharp, sudden, or shooting. It arises in response to pressure on the tooth as when you’re biting. If you experience pain, call your dentist.
  • Heat sensitivity: Hot foods or drinks cause discomfort and pain.
  • Cold sensitivity: Cold air, ice, ice cream, and very cold drinks cause pain and discomfort.
  • Other signs: Discomfort and sensitivity can arise when eating sour or sweet foods.

How Long Does Tooth Sensitivity After a Crown Last?

As your dentist will tell you, there’s a chance that the tooth sensitivity will last for some time following a crown placement. While it can take up to four to six weeks for symptoms to subside, in most cases, the pain and discomfort subside within a few days.

When to Call the Doctor

Given that some tooth sensitivity in a crown is expected, it’s important to know when the discomfort is a sign of a more serious issue. Call your dentist if:

  • Your pain is severe, constant, and/or intolerable.
  • The pain lasts longer than four to six weeks.
  • Your bite is not lined up correctly after two weeks.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity After Crown

Fundamentally, tooth sensitivity associated with dental crowns arises when stimuli such as temperature, pressure, and others reach the nerves remaining in the capped tooth. These nerves, located in the central, "pulp" portion of the tooth, become exposed when the porous dentin layer becomes exposed. Several factors can cause this, including:

  • Cement from the crown: The temperature sensitivity associated with crown placement arises due to the cement used to bond the crown to the remaining structure. This causes irritation, leading to discomfort and other symptoms. Typically this sensitivity subsides within a couple of days.   
  • Tooth decay or infection: Another cause of tooth sensitivity is decay or infection of the pulp of the crowned tooth. If the crown is improperly put on or the cement that holds it in place comes off, there’s a chance that bacteria can build up underneath. In turn, tooth decay and infection of the pulp can occur, which is a common source of tooth pain and discomfort. In these cases, professional treatment and reworking of the crown is very important.  
  • A poorly-fitted crown: When the tooth sensitivity leads to pain in response to pressure as when biting into food or gritting teeth, there’s a good chance that the crown is not the right size. If this cap is too large, it will need to be adjusted and reshaped to fit properly, a relatively quick and simple procedure.
  • Bite interference: Also known as occlusal interference or malocclusion, bite interference is when the upper and lower jaw (or mandible) are not properly lined up. In these cases, the teeth don’t align when the mouth is closed, and tooth sensitivity often results. The placement of crowns can contribute to this potentially serious condition.

Tips for Minimizing Tooth Sensitivity

Though common, tooth sensitivity can be effectively managed and prevented. Following a dental crown placement, here’s what you can do to keep it to a minimum:

  • Good dental hygiene: In order to prevent tooth decay or infection, it’s essential that you adhere to a healthy dental hygiene regimen. This means brushing effectively twice a day, flossing regularly, and avoiding sugary foods, drinks, and sodas.
  • Specialized toothpaste: Your dentist may recommend you use toothpaste specially designed for sensitive teeth. These desensitizing products, often available over the counter, have been shown effective in reducing discomfort and pain intensity.
  • Use a soft toothbrush: Toothbrushes made with softer bristles ease the impact on the gums, which can also help prevent sensitivity.
  • Careful chewing: Avoid biting hard surfaces, such as hard candies, and be mindful of grinding teeth, chewing fingernails, and other bad oral hygiene habits.
  • Avoid triggers: Making sure you aren’t consuming very hot, frozen, or very cold foods or drinks will prevent attacks of sensitivity from forming. 
  • Pain killers: Over-the-counter pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs, like Advil or Motrin (both ibuprofen), Tylenol (acetaminophen), or others can also help with the discomfort.

Summary

Tooth sensitivity often arises following the placement of a dental crown. Characterized by symptoms such as an increased sense of heat and cold, and pain upon biting, this discomfort can be caused by an ill-fitting crown, tooth decay, and infection. In most cases, tooth sensitivity resolves on its own, though treatments to correct crowns or take on infections may be necessary. Avoiding triggering foods and using toothpaste specialized for sensitive teeth can help manage this condition.   

A Word from Verywell

Tooth sensitivity that often accompanies crown placement is usually temporary and easy to manage. However, since this can be a sign of more serious issues—and it can also be disruptive and uncomfortable—it’s important to be mindful of your condition. Don’t hesitate to call your dentist if something seems off.

Given how common tooth sensitivity is following dental procedures, it’s little wonder that there are many available mitigation strategies and treatments. With that in mind, concerns about sensitivity should not stop you from having a crown placed on a tooth that needs it. These caps serve an essential role in taking on damaged teeth, and their benefits far outweigh their negative attributes.      

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How common are sensitive teeth after crown placement?

    Tooth sensitivity is relatively common following crown placement, though exact numbers are hard to come by. Studies have found that sensitivity, in general, affects about 15% to 20% of the population, though these numbers shoot up to 57% or more for those who’ve had dental procedures. 

  • Is tooth sensitivity after crown placement normal?


    Generally speaking, some sensitivity following a crown placement is to be expected. In a majority of cases, the discomfort is manageable and resolves on its own within four weeks (often much less time is needed). However, very sharp pain in the tooth (especially when biting) and symptoms lasting longer than a couple of weeks are warning signs of deeper trouble.

  • Why is my crown tooth sensitive to cold?


    Cold sensitivity arises when the nerves in the pulp (or inner layer of the tooth) are hit with cold air or other stimuli. This occurs when the middle layer of the tooth, or dentin, is exposed due to issues with the crown or tooth decay. Dentin, unlike enamel, is porous, so cold drinks or air that come in contact can stimulate the nerves, causing sensitivity.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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