Having dental crowns put on your teeth is meant to protect them from further damage and decay. The process of having the crown put into place is pretty simple, and it should be painless since your dentist will administer a local anesthetic before they begin working. However, when you return home, you might notice that your tooth feels a bit sensitive? Why is this, and what should you do about it? Here's a look.

Why is your tooth sensitive?

Usually, tooth sensitivity after a crown placement procedure is nothing to worry about. In applying the crown, your dentist often has to use plastic or metal slips to isolate the tooth from your other teeth. This can irritate your gums a little, pushing them down and back. The area right beneath your gums tends to be really sensitive since the enamel is thinner here, and since the nerves are closer to the surface. So as saliva and air come into contact with this area right below the crown, you'll feel some sensitivity.

If the tooth beneath the crown is still alive (in other words, you have not had a root canal), the sensitivity may just be the result of the dentist having drilled into the tooth to remove decay. This, too, is nothing to worry about. The sensitivity, in either case, should subside within a week or two.

How can you manage the sensitivity in the meantime?

If your tooth is feeling a bit sensitive, there are a few things you can do to ensure you don't go through the next week cringing each time you open your mouth. First, avoid overly hot and cold foods and beverages, since those usually aggravate the nerves the most. Second, make sure you are brushing around the crown very gently. You do want to keep the area clean, but you do not want to further irritate the gums and expose more tooth below the gumline.

Also buy a tube of toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Often, these toothpastes are fortified with minerals that will help strengthen the enamel along your gumline, making the tooth less sensitive. You should notice a difference within a few days of using this toothpaste.

If your sensitivity remains after two weeks, check in with your dentist. In rare cases, the may not have removed all of the decay from the tooth prior to placing the crown, and this could be contributing to your discomfort. They'll have to remove the crown, do a little more work, and out it back in place. Again, this i unlikely. You'll probably be feeling just fine again within a few days!