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Dentistry/Unusual Sensation in crowned tooth


Hello, Doctor. Let me start with the description of my current problem: I am getting desperate about an ongoing sensation in my back lower tooth on the right side of my mouth. It feels as if there's "gum" packed around it and it makes me grind it constantly when I'm awake, which only agitates that sensation all the more. My family and friends notice this, but there's been nothing I can do that helps, except chew some gum on the other side which offsets that sensation temporarily.

Here the history of the problem: It started when I went to the dentist almost 3 years ago who said that I needed to get two new crowns on my lower molars in the very back on the right hand side of my mouth because the exiting ones were discolored and cracked. The problem began when they put two temporary crowns on those teeth: they felt mushy (making me to grin them), which I attributed to the soft material of the temporary crowns. But then when the permanent crowns replaced them, the sensation continued. I went back to the dentist several times (at least 5 or 6 times) to have them file down the tooth, thinking that it was due to it being over sized. Yet the sensation persisted and the dentist had no ideas of what could be causing it. So I had the very back tooth extracted, hoping that it was the source of that sensation, but it was still there. Then I had a root canal done on the remaining tooth with a new crown (of the more expensive variety -- with no metal). Still the sensation is there, and that last dental work (root canal and new crown) took place about two years ago. Any ideas?

Dear John,

Yes.  You likely have the habit of clenching your teeth.  Most with this habit find it difficult to adapt to new things like crowns or fillings.  The facts that your temporary crown made you clench, plus the current issue of feeling like you are biting down on your gum tell me that you are a clencher.  Clenching your teeth all day and night is like clenching your fist all day and all night.  At some point your fist or your arm will begin to hurt from the constant tension.  When you clench and grind your teeth, the teeth will begin to hurt and/or break, and your jaw muscles often will become sore.  

Your answer:  Wear a biteguard day and night.  Remove it only to chew food and to clean it.  This will either stop your clenching habit, or it will protect your teeth and jaws from further damage and pain.  If you do not stop clenching, expect to wear thru the guard and need to replace it about every year.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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