Why A Crowned Tooth May Begin To Feel Sensitive

30 May 2023
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


No matter whether you received a dental crown for cosmetic purposes (to improve the look of the tooth) or clinical purposes (to reinforce a tooth that was significantly decayed or otherwise damaged), you can consider a crowned tooth to be a well-protected tooth. So why has your well-protected tooth suddenly started to feel uncomfortably sensitive?

The Fitting Process

You may recall the fitting process for your dental crown, and that some of the tooth's surface was removed. This surface enamel was gently filed away to reduce the dimensions of the tooth. Once the crown was fitted, the restored tooth had the same measurements as the uncrowned tooth. This is essential for your ongoing comfort and dental health.


The removal of enamel inevitably removes some of the tooth's natural protection. Enamel protects the tooth's nerve and other internal components from cariogenic oral bacteria (which is the bacteria that can cause dental caries or cavities). Enamel also protects a tooth's internal structure from temperature sensitivity (from the temperatures of the various foods and drinks you consume), as well as from the acidic components of these foods and drinks. Having enamel removed isn't as radical as it might seem.

Continuing Protection

Enamel removal isn't a clinical concern because dental crowns basically become the tooth's new (artificial) enamel, serving the same purpose. This means that the tooth beneath your crown continues to be protected from all the previously-mentioned factors that might endanger it. Uncomfortable sensitivity in the tooth suggests that the crown is loosening its grip on your tooth.

Physically Undetectable

A loose dental crown may be physically undetectable. It won't necessarily feel loose, so the telltale sign of a loose crown (a slight wiggling or wobbling of the crown) may be totally absent. What's happened is that the dental cement used to adhere the crown to your tooth has degraded. In the case of a new crown, too little dental cement may have been used.


The weakening of the crown's bond creates tiny, imperceptible breaches at the crown's margin (where it meets the tooth). This permits microleakage beneath the crown, allowing bacteria and other contaminants to make contact with the tooth. As the tooth's own protective enamel has been reduced to accommodate the crown, this is what is causing your increasing levels of sensitivity.

Don't Delay

See a dentist immediately. The crown must be re-cemented without delay. It's not a dental emergency, yet delaying treatment allows decay and other concerns to progress, which may alter the shape of the tooth beneath its crown—meaning that your made-to-measure dental crown may no longer have the correct measurements. 

Once it has been secured on your tooth, your sensitivity should rapidly subside as your tooth's protection has been restored. Contact a company such as Highland Family dental to learn more.