Updated: Oct 31
The most common complication after getting a new dental crown is when the bite feels too high meaning there is discomfort when you bite down.
All of the discomfort stems from the tooth cap being too bulky or too big. If you've experienced a high bite before such as with other crowns or fillings, you'd know how annoying it could be.
A crown with a high bite has a couple of distinctive signs but most notably, it feels too high when you bite.
Signs and symptoms:
Whenever you close your teeth together they hurt.
It hurts whenever you're eating or chewing food.
However, there is no discomfort if you're not eating or when your teeth are apart.
Note: These symptoms apply to all types of crowns whether they're all ceramic, metal, gold or even implant crowns. Yes, implant crowns can experience discomfort from a high bite as well.
Pain from biting down
A common symptom of a crown with a high bite is pain when you close your teeth together. It doesn't have to be when you're eating because the simple acting of biting down will cause discomfort.
This is one of the signs that your bite is off. In fact, when your dentist was checking your bite after they glued in the crown, they probably asked you to bite on blue paper. The act of tapping your teeth together on blue paper is how they check your bite.
You may call it a high bite but your dentist calls it high occlusion. That blue paper is called articulating paper and it is used to detect high occlusion.
Pain when chewing
Sometimes closing your teeth together may not hurt but it does hurt only when you're chewing. It is only symptomatic while you're chewing on food.
That is another common sign of a high bite but the fact that it only occurs when you're eating means that it is not as severe. However it still indicates that bite is off.
No pain when teeth are apart
Most importantly, a sign of a crown with a high bite is zero pain when your teeth are apart. That means you shouldn't be experiencing any discomfort if the teeth aren't touching.
If you are experiencing discomfort even with the teeth apart, it may be indicative of another type of problem with your crown. A tooth cap with a high occlusion should only bother you if you're occluding your teeth together.
Patients often mistake other symptoms for a crown with a high bite, however they are indicative of a different type of complication. Here are some common symptoms which may mean something else.
Signs & symptoms not related to a crown that is too high:
Tooth randomly hurts where the toothache comes and goes.
A raging toothache that wakes you up while you're sleeping.
Tooth is sensitive when you're eating hot or cold foods.
You would randomly get tooth pain even while you're not eating. That is in fact a tell-tale sign of tooth nerve pain rather than a crown with high occlusion. Discomfort from a high bite is typically stimulated when you're biting with the new cap. Only nerve pain acts up without being provoked.
Pain that wakes you up
You experience an unbearable toothache that wakes you up in the middle of the night or prevents you from sleeping. There is no way you're trying to eat while you're sleeping so this is also another type of nerve pain.
You're not even biting down but whenever you drink something hot or cold, the tooth hurts. Temperature sensitivity has nothing to do with the crown's occlusion. This symptom is more related to an exposed tooth nerve.
What you should do
Regardless of what symptom you're experiencing with your new crown you will need to return to your dentist. Only they can adjust the cap (shaving it down) and alleviate your pain if it is a high bite or anything else for that matter.
In case you were wondering what to expect for each symptom, we've summarized it for you.
Pain from biting down
No pain with teeth apart
Pain that wakes you up while sleeping
Root canal or desensitizer
A bite adjustment or occlusal adjustment from your dentist is a very quick procedure. It should only take about 5-10 minutes at most.
What to expect:
Your dentist will have you bite down on articulating paper.
Bite up and down a few times and then grind your teeth side to side.
The high spots will be polished away.
Repeat steps #1-3 until the bite feels good and normal.
The entire procedure should be painless and you won't require any anesthesia.
Other types of crown discomfort may require a different type of treatment such as a root canal. That is often the case if the tooth pain stems from the nerve. The only way to treat an unhealthy nerve is by removing it from the tooth via a root canal procedure.
If your crown is too high there are ways to tell because it often comes with very distinct symptoms that tell you it's a bad fit. If that is the case you must return to your dentist for a quick bite adjustment. That is the only way to relieve the biting pressure but the good news is the follow up is very quick.