Sore gums around a new crown

In February, a root canal was completed on #14 (upper left first molar). In April, I got a core buildup and a crown on the tooth. Since getting the crown, I have been very uncomfortable and unable to chew on that side. Within two weeks of getting the crown, I started noticing bad breath and a chemical taste coming from the crown, more noticeable after eating. I also feel the gum inflamed and tender when I wake up every morning.

I’ve been back to my dentist. He said it was gum inflammation and that I probably was not flossing the area correctly. He said the bad taste I felt was probably blood, eventhough I never noticed any when flossing or brushing. He gave me peridex, and I also got a professional cleaning. Last week, I decided to visit a Periodontist for an evaluation. He said the crown was sealed properly, but too close to the bone, perhaps. On the xray he did not see any bone loss, but he warned me that if I get a gum infection, I could lose the tooth! He recommended a crown lengthening procedure. I just don’t understand how, when my general dentist who did the crown said I had plenty of tooth structure. I am very frustrated, because the events leading to the root canal were not pleasant, and now six months later cannot believe I am feeling even worse. Not only that, after using Peridex, I still see a brown film on my tongue and teeth, eventhough I only used it for 5 days (two weeks ago). The film on my tongue keeps re-appearing after brushing, so could it be blood oozing out of the gum? I feel that this crown is ruining my otherwise healthy mouth. Other than this crown lengthening procedure, what other alternatives do I have? Thank you for any advice or information you may have.
- Cindy from Florida

It sounds like the dentist may have made the crown to go too far under the gum. It could be that the tooth was decayed down that far. There isn’t really much you can do when you have a situation like that other than the crown lengthening that the periodontist is recommending.

I really doubt that the bad taste you had after getting the crown was from blood. When you have gum inflammation like that, it creates a festering pocket with a localized infection, and that would be the most likely cause of the bad taste. And, of course, you realize now that the gum inflammation isn’t caused by a problem with your flossing but because the crown was violating what we call the biologic width of the tooth – the crown is too close to the periodontal ligament, which is the ligament that attaches your tooth to the bone. The brown film you are seeing is from the Peridex mouth rinse, and there are only two ways I know of to get that off – with a professional cleaning, or with Supersmile toothpaste that will dissolve away that film.

This blog sponsored by Colorado Springs dentist Dr. Joseph Rota

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