The main purpose of a dental crown is to protect and restore the tooth to its natural appearance and function. While traditional crowns are designed to last anyway between 5 to upwards of 20 years, dental crown problems can occur for a number of reasons. If you do encounter dental crown problems, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible to ensure the problem does not get worse.

Below are some of the most common dental problems as well as their remedies.

1. Tooth decay

Decay is arguably the most common problem associated with dental crowns. Dental decay occurs primarily from bad oral hygiene after having a tooth crown implanted. While the crown will remain intact, the tooth below/inside is still vulnerable to decay and if left, can result in other problems, such as gum disease.

  • How to fix decay under a tooth crown: The solution is simple, maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Decay occurs when poor oral hygiene, more specifically, when bacteria is left on the tooth and is not brushed away. If decay has already set, you will need to see a dentist for a filling (if it’s accessible). If the decay is located underneath the crown, your dentist will need to remove the crown, remove the decay and then create a new dental crown – which can be very expensive. 
  • Prevention is better than a cure in almost every context regarding dentistry, keeping on top of your oral hygiene can save you thousands in procedures.

2. Poor crown placement

Another common crown problem involves the improper placement of the crown over the affected tooth. In some cases, if the crown has been poorly fitted, it will impact your bite. You may find that when you clench your teeth, your crown is uneven, causing a wonky bite, which can cause discomfort in the future. This problem can only be addressed and fixed by a dentist. Additionally, poor crown placement can also lead to bacteria creeping in and affecting the tooth (like mentioned above), which again can cause comfort and may require costly repair work. 

  • How to fix a badly placed crown: You will need to revisit your dentist so they’re able to assess what additional work is required. Depending on the cause, you may not have to pay for any repairs. However, if the crown has been dislodged through accident or injury, you will likely have to pay for the repairs yourself.

3. Implant failure

Implants can become dislodged and break under certain circumstances, such as accident or injury to the tooth. Crowns can also become loose from eating certain types of foods, such as hard nuts, sweets and chocolate. It’s important that you stay away from these foods for two weeks after your implant to ensure your crown has had enough time to bond to your natural tooth. 

  • How to fix an implant failure: Implants that have become loose will require refitting by your dentist. You will not be able to properly refit your implant yourself and any attempt may make the problem worse. In some cases, your dentist may be able to swiftly refit the implant. However, if the implant is badly damaged or has come off altogether, you may require a completely new crown. 

4. Sensitive teeth

It’s not uncommon for your tooth or surrounding teeth to become sensitive after your dental crown procedure. You may find that eating certain foods and the temperature of food and drink affects the sensitivity of your tooth. 

However, if the sensitivity does not go after the first week or so, there may be another reason. If your dentin is left exposed during the procedure (this happens when your tooth enamel is trimmed away during the crowning process), it may mean your crown is not covering your whole tooth. 

  • How do you fix a sensitive tooth after an implant?: If the sensitivity does not subside after a week or so, consult your dentist. You may need to return to the clinic so that they’re able to cover any exposed parts of your tooth. 

5. Damaged crowns (cracks, breaks, fractures)

Another common dental crown problem is when your crown cracks or breaks due to trauma. Most modern dental crowns are made from porcelain (there are other more durable types) and are not as durable as natural teeth. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns can also break, but this is extremely rare. 

  • What happens if my crown becomes chipped or breaks?: Small chips and fractures can be fixed by applying resin to the affected areas (this requires a dentist). However, larger breaks and chips will likely be too difficult or complex to fix, so a full crown tooth replacement is often required. 

6. Problems to do with the nerves

All teeth have a soft pulp which lies in the centre of the tooth, where all the nerves are located. In some cases, having a dental crown implanted can disturb those nerves and cause significant pain. The pain may be almost instantly after the procedure has been completed, but can also appear weeks, sometimes months after the crown has been placed.

  • How do I fix a nerve problem after a tooth crown?: Dental crown problems rarely affect the pulp of the tooth, but when they do it can be extremely uncomfortable. The only way to stop this pain is to replace the crown or have a root canal. 

7. Allergic reactions

In rare cases, you may have an allergic reaction to the dental crown. This problem is extremely rare because dentists will ask if you have any allergies or medical condition relating to metal before considering a gold or metal-based crown. However, if the patient is unaware of their allergy and the crown is placed, they may suffer from soreness around the tooth and gum. 

  • What happens if I have an allergic reaction to my implant?: Your dentist will simply remove and replace the implant with a porcelain alternative. 

8. Greyed gums

Patients who have gold or metal-based crowns fitted may notice that their gums surrounding the tooth start to change colour or, dull. This is no cause for concern, it’s simply the metal showing through the gum line. While this isn’t at all harmful, it can be aesthetically displeasing.

  • How do I fix my dark gum line?: The only way to get rid of the greyness from your gum is to replace your metal crown with a porcelain alternative. 

9. Alternative dental crown problems

Temporary crowns are fitted during the intermission period where your permanent crown is being created. Temporary crowns are typically worn for approximately 1-3 weeks, any longer and you should contact your dentist to enquire about your permanent crown. 

It’s not uncommon to encounter temporary dental crown problems, be sure to avoid the following:

  • Hard, sticky foods – your temporary crown is not as hard-wearing or durable as your permanent crown, so it’s essential you avoid foods that could dislodge or damage your temporary crown.
  • Shift food and drink onto the other side of your mouth – try not to eat and drink on the side of your mouth where your temporary crown is. This, again, will alleviate the risk of any damages to your temporary crown.
  • Be gentle with dental floss – when using dental floss, try to slide the floss out of your teeth as opposed to pulling and tugging. This can cause the temporary crown to loosen. 

Are you suffering from a dental crown problem?

If you discover that you’re suffering from one of the above symptoms, it’s likely you will need dental intervention before the problem worsens. For more information on your dental crown problems or to arrange a checkup, please contact our clinic in Hove today.