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My new crown has been hurting for months

Posted by AllSmiles

In January, my dentist put a crown over a top left molar that was cracked, sensitive, and had an old silver filling in it. During the procedure, my dentist had trouble getting the tooth numb, so drilling it was quite painful. When the dentist checked my bite, I told her that it hurt to chew on that side. Later during the week, I told the dentist that it was also painful to brush the tooth and floss around it. She never mentioned that I might need root canal treatment.

The dental office told me that the tooth was irritated and would settle down. I return to the office, and my dentist adjusted the crown. She said that if it did not feel better, she would readjust. I delayed the appointment due to the pandemic, but my tooth became quite painful in a few weeks. My dentist adjusted the crown again, and although it was somewhat better, it was still uncomfortable.

Last week when I saw the dentist, she said the tooth has a periapical abscess, and I need an extraction. My dentist has no explanation of why she didn’t see that the tooth was declining during my follow-up visits. How can I request a refund for the same-day crown? And is the same-day crown process the reason I had so many problems? – Thank you. Quinn from Indiana


Thank you for your inquiry.

Based on your description, it sounds like your dentist was somewhat negligent for several reasons:

  • Cracked tooth – Your molar tooth was already cracked and at risk of needing root canal treatment. Your dentist should have mentioned the possibility of needing root canal treatment.
  • Sensitivity – Some sensitivity after crown placement is common, but the pain you experienced was abnormal.
  • Your bite – When your dentist checked your bite, she should have worked to get it right. A crown should blend with your bite so well that you cannot tell the difference between it and your natural teeth.

Requesting a Refund for a Dental Crown

You can request a refund for your crown for several reasons:

  • Your dentist did not explain that you might need root canal treatment
  • Your dentist placed the crown on a sensitive tooth without addressing the sensitivity
  • The same-day crown does not function well and did not function properly when your dentist first checked your bite
  • Your dentist did not attempt to treat the tooth despite your complaints further

Several ways to motivate your dentist to refund you include:

  • Report the issue to your dental insurance company, if applicable
  • File a complaint with the state dental board
  • Leave negative online reviews

Consider Root Canal Treatment from a Specialist

Diagram of a same-day-crown hovering over a molar tooth
A same-day crown can protect a tooth and preserve it from extraction

Root canal treatment on a tooth with a periapical abscess is worth a try. It may save your tooth—especially if you allow an endodontist, a root canal specialist, to treat it. If there is a chance of saving your tooth, why not consider it? Otherwise, after an extraction, you will need a dental implant or bridge to replace the missing tooth.

Without an implant or a bridge to replace your extracted tooth, you can experience some or all these issues:

  • Your adjacent teeth and the tooth opposing the missing one will drift into the space
  • You will begin to experience TMJ issues
  • Tooth movement can create a need for orthodontic treatment

Get a Second Opinion

We recommend that you get a second opinion from an experienced dentist. A conscientious dentist wants to preserve your teeth and your oral health. Request an examination, discuss your treatment options, and weigh the pros and cons of tooth extraction.

Timothy J. Goebel, DDS, a Moline, IL dentist, sponsors this post.