I got three dental crowns in 2004, two of which are sensitive to heat. I began Invisalign in August, and now I am having trouble with crowns. This is frustrating because if I need new crowns, it will throw off my treatment. Is Invisalign causing problems with my crowns? My dentist says I probably need root canals, but he will take x-rays next week. Do I need to see another dentist? Why do I suddenly need root canals? – Thank you. Liya from Chicago
Thank you for your question. Dr. Brooksher would need to take x-rays and examine your teeth, but we can provide general guidance.
Why Are Dental Crowns Sensitive to Heat?
When your crowned teeth are sensitive to heat, it may mean that the tooth pulp is dying. Root canal treatment removes infection and can save the teeth. Consider the facts:
- Tooth pain and sensitivity – Periodic tooth pain and sensitivity do not mean that the tooth pulp is dying. When pain lingers and sensitivity is consistent, usually the tooth requires root canal treatment.
- Effect of an infection – When your body sends antibodies to fight infection in the tooth pulp, the tissue begins to swell. Lack of space in your tooth causes the tissue to swell and die, releasing gases that increase pressure and cause pain and sensitivity.
Invisalign movement puts gentle pressure on a tooth and can aggravate an infected tooth; however, Invisalign is not the cause of the irritation and infection.
Root Canal for a Crowned Tooth
A dentist can make a small opening through your dental crowns to perform root canal treatment. If you have had the crowns for 18 years, replacing them is the most practical option.
What Causes Infection Beneath a Crown?
Trapped bacteria and decay can cause infection beneath a crown. If the margin between your gums and the crown leaks, bacteria can seep in and cause decay.
Can Your Tooth Sensitivity Wait?
Delaying treatment allows an infection to spread. Your pain and sensitivity will increase without treatment. Your dentist recommended root canal treatment, and x-rays will confirm the condition of your teeth. You are welcome to get a second opinion, though. After a dentist resolves your tooth sensitivity, your Invisalign treatment will be more comfortable.
Dr. Steven Brooksher, a Baton Rouge accredited cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.