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About 8 days ago, I had an upper molar prepared for a crown. This is because the tooth had an extremely large old silver filling that was starting to break down. I didn't have any sensitivity in the tooth, but my dentist warned me that because the filling was so huge, there was a chance I could break the tooth and I was safer if I had it crowned. Anyway, everything went well during the procedure, and my dentist said that I could expect some sensitivity but to call him if I had extreme pain that woke me in the middle of the night, because sometimes after preparing a tooth for a crown it can damage the nerve leading it to need a root canal.

Right now I have a temporary crown on the tooth and will be going back in about a week and a half for the permanent crown.

I have been feeling fine since the procedure aside from having a little sensitivity to cold. My dentist said that was normal, and it's more worrisome if there is sensitivity to heat. I do not have any sensitivity to heat. However, tonight I was eating a piece of chocolate. I was not chewing it but just letting it melt in my mouth and the tooth became extremely sensitive. I'm guessing it was from the sugar/sweetness. It took a while to calm down. Is this normal? Or does this mean I will need a root canal? It is still not sensitive to heat at all. Just a little bit to cold, and this strong sensitivity to sugar that I just found out about tonight. Of course this started on a Friday night and I really do not want to call the dentist's emergency number for this question, but am anxious to wait for Monday for an opinion.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Answer
Hi Sara,

It's not unusual for teeth to be sensitive, actually even to hot, after a crown preparation, especially on a tooth that has a large, old filling. Cold, sugar, hot coffee all can set things off. The issue for you is whether this sensitivity decreases or increases with time. If the pulp of the tooth becomes inflamed, and potentially needing a root canal, the sensitivity will increase and last longer each time it starts. The fact that it IS sensitive means the tooth is still alive and now it just needs to recover from the crown preparation.

The bad news is, we do see a fair number of old large fillings needing root canals after crown preparations, but you are no where near that point yet. Hopefully, your sweet sensitivity is just a bump in the road and things will settle down nicely for you.

Hope this helps. Have a good weekend!

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

Dentistry

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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD

Expertise

I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.

Experience

25 years practicing as a specialist

Organizations
American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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