I love the way my new porcelain veneers look. They have made me feel confidant and I love looking in the mirror now. However, I have been dealing with some severe sensitivity. Anything cold gives me a zing! I can’t even drink a glass of cool water.
When I called into my dentist, he said that this happens sometimes. He mentioned a root canal, which freaked me out. I had no idea that getting porcelain veneers done would lead to a root canal. There was no mention of any kind of risk like this. Otherwise, I would have considered that possibility before moving forward with the veneers. Is there anything else that can be done besides a root canal?
-Shawna in Michigan
It is uncommon to require a root canal after getting porcelain veneers. However, any time you get dental work done, there is always a risk of having nerve problems. Each tooth has many layers. And the nerve is in the center pulp of the tooth. Dentin surrounds the pulp and then enamel is on the outside. The outer layers protect the nerve and any trauma can cause irritation to the nerve underneath.
For example, the nerve is stressed if something on the exterior is unsettled. In healthy teeth, you likely won’t experience any discomfort. But, if you have thin enamel, the nerve may be more sensitive to temperature changes and other irritants. Some people also have large pores in their teeth. This can also cause irritation because they are like direct tunnels to the nerve. Some patients experience sensitivity after cosmetic dentistry procedures like tooth whitening because of the pores in the teeth. They are opened during whitening and close up afterwards.
Nerves can become angry during the dental crown procedure too. When a tooth is prepared and shaved down to be fitted during a crown, the enamel is removed and can irritate the nerve.
With porcelain veneers, a very tiny amount of the tooth is shaved down. So, you shouldn’t be exposing much of those underlying areas, which is why sensitivity usually isn’t an issue. Although, it is possible that the tooth had some underlying issue before the porcelain veneer was placed. It may have been irritated from the dentist’s preparation of the tooth and could have become inflamed. Nerves are tricky and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to when they act up.
If the irritation doesn’t calm down, the dentist should be examining the reason for it. A root canal should be a last resort. Since there was so little of the natural tooth removed for porcelain veneers, it could be an issue with the bonding. Maybe there is a leak between your porcelain veneer and your natural tooth. So, that should be checked out. The other reason could be if your bite is off. If the teeth are hitting incorrectly when you bite down, that could also cause sensitivity. Both of these instances can be fixed with minor in-office adjustments.
So, you should have the tooth evaluated. And if indeed everything checks out, you may end up needing a root canal on the tooth. But, it shouldn’t be done without exhausting all other possibilities.
Thank your for your question.
This post is sponsored by Barrington cosmetic dentist James T. Gavrilos, DDS.