Why does my tooth hurt after my crown? It never hurt before.

You can replace the “crown” with any procedure that a dentist may perform. It seems perfectly logical to ask why it did not hurt before the procedure but it hurts now after…

I would think the same thing if I were not a dentist.

The first thing to understand is that a tooth is like any other physical mechanical object. It is acted on by forces, extremes in temperatures, bacteria, trauma from biting and chewing. All of these forces and adverse stresses cause breakdown. A tooth has a certain life cycle. It goes through stages. A tooth gets a small filling, then a larger filling, then a crown or root canal, perhaps another crown or a root canal, if it can’t withstand the forces then it gets extracted and a dental implant replaces it.

My job as a dentist is to extend the tooth’s life cycle for as long as you need it. Your job is to clean it as often as possible to maintain its health.

A tooth is never as strong or as good once it has been restored in any fashion. Every filling wears down. Each time a tooth gets a cavity, the nerve is stressed. Each time the tooth is drilled on it stresses the nerve. Each nerve and each person’s tolerance is different. Sometimes a simple filling causes enough trauma that the tooth becomes extremely sensitive.

So in an ideal world, anytime that a tooth has a large cavity or filling that is breaking down from the excessive load, a root canal could be done prior to any crown. That would be ideal dentistry in many situations. However, the reality is that a root canal could double the cost of the procedure. So many times, we as dentists, try to walk the thin line of attempting to restore the tooth that doesn’t hurt without a root canal. Sometimes it works and sometimes it still needs additional treatment.


The moral of the story is that a tooth that needs a crown has probably been filled with a large filling that has recurrent decay which is due to marginal separation from excessive load on the tooth. That tooth is not a great tooth, even though it doesn’t hurt you! And a “not great teeth most often eventually need a root canal” regardless of the timing.

If you need further clarification please call for a free consultation with Dr. Emmi 302-999-8113.

We're Here to Help

Our caring & dedicated staff want to help you have the best dental experience possible. Contact us with any questions or to book an appointment.
Call us: 302-999-8113