My daughter had a crown placed on a back tooth after it developed extensive decay. It’s been hurting her since it was placed. I called her pediatric dentist back and he said we have to wait for eight weeks to fix this until her nerves settle down. Is that normal? It seems like a long time to leave her in pain. He’s the only pediatric dentist in our small town, so I’m not sure I have much of an option.
No, this isn’t normal. If the nerves were involved there would be sensitivity to cold. You didn’t mention that so I am going on the assumption the problem is the crown is pressing down on her gums in a weird way that is causing pain. This has to do with the placement of the crown. Waiting does nothing.
A crown done well and fitted properly will not be any more noticeable than her normal, healhty teeth. When there is pain when someone bites down on a crown, that is usually for one of two reasons.
There is an Infection
It is quite possible as the decay grew that some of it reached the pulp of her tooth. In that case, you could first try a pulpotomy, which is the child’s version of a root canal treatment. These don’t always work. In that case, she’d need to have the tooth extracted. You didn’t mention your daughter’s age, but with it being a back tooth it is very important to keep the space protected until she is around twelve years of age, when those permanent molars come in.
If you can’t save the tooth, your pediatric dentist needs to provide a space maintainer to protect that area. Otherwise, her other teeth will tip or shift into the open space. This will lead to major crowding and expensive braces later on.
The Crown is Seated too High
Sometimes it is just a matter of the crown being seated too high. This causes pain because instead of your biting force being spread out over all of your teeth, the crown is taking the full force of it. An adjustment of the crown’s placement is usually all that is needed in this case.
Normally, I would just say to have your pediatric dentist check things out and fix what needs fixing, but I’m concerned he doesn’t really understand how these things work. I do realize he is the only pediatric dentist in your town, but there may be a family dentist there who could at the very least take a look at her and give you a second opinion.
General dentists are qualified to treat children and even do a pediatric rotation, however, for the sake of your daughter, make sure it is someone who enjoys treating children. Positive experiences when they are young are essential to having a good outlook on dental care for the remainder of their lives.
Many patients with dental anxiety can trace the start of it to a traumatic experience with an unkind or impatient dentist.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.