Placing dental crowns is a powerful restorative dentistry procedure. Crowns can take a tooth that is unattractive, cracked, badly decayed, or otherwise seriously damaged and make it healthy and functional again. When properly fitted, they can last for decades.

But if a dental crown doesn’t fit right, it can reduce the lifespan of more than the crown itself–it can threaten your overall oral health, leading to more cavities, gum disease, cracked teeth, and even jaw problems like temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ). So, how can you tell if your crown isn’t properly fitted?

Lovely woman posing with her crown. When you have dental crown too high or too low in your mouth it can cause problems with your bite. That's when you'll want to schedule your consultation with Dr. Chris Hill at his St. Louis cosmetic dental office.

Bite Doesn’t Feel Right

Ideally, a dental crown should fit into your bite just like any of your other teeth. If it doesn’t feel right, there’s a problem.

There are several places where your bite might not feel right. You might feel the difference where the dental crown is, either as pressure on opposite teeth or as the teeth not feeling like they come together properly. You might also feel that something has changed on the opposite side of your mouth, even though the new crown is the problem.

Finally, you might feel the difference in your jaw joint or muscles. You might notice that your jaw joint feels a little off, or you might notice that you are getting soreness in your jaw muscles. If you ignore these symptoms, they can worsen and spread into other TMJ symptoms, such as headaches, tinnitus, vertigo, neck pain, and more.

One caveat here: sometimes your dental crown might feel a little odd at first because you’re thinking about it too much. Sometimes people also feel their bite is off for a day or two after holding their jaw open for placing the crown. So give your bite some time to settle in before assuming the crown is a problem.

Pressure on Neighboring Teeth

If the dental crown is too wide for the space, it can push on neighboring teeth. This might feel like pressure or even pain in the teeth next to the crown. This pressure may increase when you bite, chew, or bring your jaws together for other reasons.

You might also notice that you have trouble flossing between your crown and neighboring teeth. You need to be able to floss around the crown to make sure you protect the health of your gums–receding gums can expose more of the tooth under the crown, making it vulnerable.

Food Getting Stuck around Crown

If your new crown has too much space around it, you can find you have a different problem. You might notice that you are getting large pieces of food stuck between the crown and the neighboring teeth. Floss will go through these spaces, but doesn’t easily clean both sides.

You might also notice that food is accumulating around the base of the crown. This might be a sign that the crown doesn’t fit snug against your tooth–it might be creating a ledge where food and plaque can accumulate. This can lead to gum disease and decay of the tooth.

Crown Is Loose

Ideally, a dental crown should be firmly bonded to your tooth. It shouldn’t move any more than your other teeth (which is very slight movement for healthy teeth). If the crown can move around on top of the tooth, it’s a sign that it’s not fitted correctly.

This not only means that the crown is at risk for coming off, it means that there’s probably space between the crown and the tooth, which allows bacteria and food to get in. That can cause the tooth to decay under the crown, potentially leading to a serious tooth infection.

Painful or Inefficient Chewing

Your dental crown should be a functional part of your bite. If the crown is too high or too low, though, it can cause problems. A crown that is too high will not only cause your bite to feel off, it might make chewing painful because your teeth are contacting sooner than they should. On the other hand, if a crown isn’t contacting properly, it won’t contribute to your ability to chew.

In both cases, you might notice that you ‘re not chewing as efficiently as in the past. If it’s taking a lot longer to chew food, or if you find you’re unexpectedly swallowing large chunks of food, you might have a poorly fitting crown.

Red, Inflamed Gums

You might not notice what is causing the problem, but there are many ways that a poorly fitting crown can contribute to gum disease risk. If you notice that the gums around your dental crown are much less healthy than the rest of your mouth, it might be time to get the crown checked.

Get a Better Fit

If you’re unhappy with the fit of a dental crown, we can help you get a better fit. And while we assume that many of these problems will crop up shortly after a crown is placed, they can sometimes appear months or years later. If the fit of a crown changes, it’s usually a sign of a problem and should be checked out.

If  you are looking for a skilled cosmetic dentist to help you get a properly fitting dental crown in St. Louis, please call (314) 678-7876 today for an appointment at City Smiles, with offices downtown and in Clayton.