Two of my crowns are more than 20 years old. Last week, I visited my dentist to get up my first box of Invisalign aligners and get a dental cleaning. Today, I felt sudden intense pain in an upper left crown, and the pain gets worse when I drink coffee. My dental office is closed until the beginning of April. Is Invisalign causing pain and sensitivity as my teeth shift? Do I need to see another dentist, or can it wait until April? Thank you. Asa from TN
The symptoms you describe mean that your tooth pulp is dying. You will need root canal treatment to remove the infection and save your tooth.
- Tooth pain and sensitivity – Tooth sensitivity that comes and goes does not necessarily mean the tooth is dying. But sudden intense pain that arises on its own indicates the tooth is dying. And when warm or hot temperature changes increase the pain, the indications are strong.
- Infected tooth pulp – When infected pulp calls the body’s defenses to fight the infection, the pulp tissue begins to swell. But it is confined within your tooth, chokes, and dies. As the tooth dies, it can give off gasses that increase pressure and pain inside the tooth. Cold temperatures contract the gasses and can provide relief.
Although pressure on the tooth from Invisalign movement can irritate an infected tooth, Invisalign is not the cause of your tooth pain. Your tooth infection was probably already brimming, and the dental cleaning may have aggravated it further.
Root Canal for a Crowned Tooth
Although a dentist can make a small opening in the crown and perform root canal treatment through it, removing the crown gives a better view of the tooth’s condition. And your crown is more than 20 years old, so replacing it and the other old crown can prevent future issues.
Causes of Tooth Pain Beneath an Old Crown
Trapped decay beneath a crown can lead to an infection. If the margin between your gums and the crown is leaking, bacterial can seep in and promote decay. Another culprit might be exposed tooth roots that are irritated.
Can Your Tooth Pain Wait?
An infection will continue to spread until a dentist treats it. The pain and sensitivity you are experiencing are signals to see a dentist right away. Ask friends or family members for a recommendation. Or search online for an experienced dentist with positive patient reviews. You can wear a temporary crown and wait until your dentist returns to receive your new crowns.
David Finley, DDS, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Monroe, LA, sponsors this post.