How painful is getting your teeth capped?

So it looks like I’m going to have to get two of my back teeth capped.

Is it a painful process?

Beyond that I hate having work done in my mouth. Makes me feel like I’m choking.

No, not especially painful in my experience (I’ve had 7 if I’m counting right). I’ve had a root canal, too, and they have more of a reputation for painfulness, but mine wasn’t bad. It was more painful than any of the caps, though.

Are you getting a root canal, or are they just grinding down part of the existing tooth and capping it?

Since he didn’t mention a root canal, I’m assuming only a capping.

I’ve had one tooth capped. It really wasn’t bad at all. Modern materials and anesthetics make it a pretty easy experiance.

Capping a tooth don’t hurt, neither does a root canal. What happened to your tooth BEFORE the root canal HURTS like crazy :slight_smile:

All they do is file the tooth down so it’s like a nub. Then they can put the cap on the nub.

The worst part about it for me is when they take the form for the new cap. It feels like they put a bunch of “Play-Doh” and you bite on it. Then you have to hold your bite for like 5 minutes, without moving your mouth. I swear them is five LONG minutes.


Then they take this clay-like mold and rinse your mouth and put a temp cap on. Temp caps hold up well and you can eat off them, so long as you don’t try to eat things like “Bit O’Honey” with a temp cap. And gum chewing don’t work with a temp cap. The gum sticks to the temp cap.

The one issue I have is the Novocaine. When they numb more than a quarter of my mouth I tend to panic. It just feels weird. So I only let them work on one quarter at a time. You know your lower left or your upper right or whatever.

The one thing to remember about caps is they are stronger than your teeth. So if you get a cap on your upper tooth, the lower tooth is usually fine. But if the lower tooth has a filling in it, chances are you will eventually crack that lower tooth or wear down. (This can take five or ten years to do though). A gold cap is softer, but of course if you can see it, you probably won’t want a gold cap.

Also if you can see it, make darn well sure it matches your teeth. Caps don’t stain, regardless of what dentists say. I have my front caps for 15 years, no problems except they are shiny white still, now the rest of my teeth aged. So they don’t match, especially since I drink coffee. So get a good match if you can see the caps, make sure your dentist will agree to do it over if he fails to get a suitable match. Ask BEFORE, 'cause a lot of dentist don’t care, and if you don’t like the color or it don’t match to your needs, they will charge you to redo it. (Insurance won’t cover a re-do which is around $500.00)

Sorry I even mentioned root canal. My point was that if root canals are supposed to be worse than capping, and even the root canals aren’t that bad, capping isn’t likely to be a problem at all.

I have 5 crowns and a fixed bridge and – not bad. Depending on how much you have left of the original tooth, there may be a lot of grinding down, but it’s not painful with a shot of Novocaine. They make the temp crown in the office, so you have it on for the week-10 days til you get the real deal.

Get the metal-bonded-to-porcelain type for back teeth. They have a bit of a dark line around the gum edge, so not good for front teeth, but they are much more durable than all-porcelain ones.

Oh, and BTW if the crown comes loose (happened to me once) most dentists will re-glue it quickly and for low cost/free.

I got a crown once, and I thanked the heavens for the invention of novocain. It was pretty uncomfortable sitting in the chair for an hour, but for the most part it wasn’t painful. Once in a while at the dentist they’ll start drilling or jabbing a tooth when I haven’t had enough novocain, and that hurts like a mother@%*&er.

I’ve had both a root canal and a “capping”.

Neither caused any serious pain (God Bless nitrous and Novocaine). The sum unpleasantness was all in the grossness of the procedures.

For the root canal - once I was high as a kite and insensate the dentist took a drill bit I would swear was five inches long and drilled through the tooth into my skull. It didn’t hurt a bit but man, being penetrated in the skull was a procedure that kind of squicked me.

For the capping - again, no pain. I was high as the sky. What was gross was grinding down the tooth in question. Sure, I didn’t feel a thing. But I sure did smell it when the ground my tooth down to a nub. The friction from the grinding burns teeth. Not quite like roasting your typical beef bone, but not entirely unlike. The smell is nauseating.

I’ll be the voice from the other side - crowns hurt, temporary crowns hurt like a motherfucker, and permanent crowns never stop being sensitive to hot and cold. It’s better than having your teeth rot out of your head, but not by much. If you have any problems with getting properly frozen for dental work, get sedation to have your crowns done. I’ve started having sedation dentistry because of being hard to freeze, and I wish I’d done it decades ago.

I’ve had two crowns. I didn’t experience much pain at all. And I don’t have a high tolerance for pain. Maybe I just have a good dentist.

Thanks for all the replies guys. I guess in the end, it needs to be done, no matter the pain (or not), eh?

My experience with crowns & caps is different from some of those described, and I give many cheers for modern dentistry. My dentist has a setup that takes a 3-D digital image of the available surface, and uses that image to mill a customized fitting. The milling takes maybe 10 minutes, after which the dentist just snaps it on. No goopy mold, no temporary cap. The color is just like my other teeth: not chalky white. If you weren’t told you would never know it was fake.

Before starting the procedure, the dentist removed the old metal fillings in that tooth as well as, of course, the decayed area that had started us down this path. After the anaesthetic wore off, my jaw was pretty achy the rest of the day, but I experienced nothing I would call pain after the initial part of the injection.

Agreeing with the consensus: nope, not terribly painful. It was tricky to chew with the temporary cap, though. Mine popped off a couple times. I knew I was supposed to go in when that happened, but, well, I was in school and the dentist’s office was out of the way and I was sick of the dentist at that point*, etc., etc., excuses. So I rinsed it out and shoved it back on. When I went in to get the permanent, she commented, “Oh, wow, that was really ready to come out! I’m surprised it hadn’t fallen out.” I did my best to look astonished.

Huh. My experience was completely different. When I got a cap three years ago, I thought it was ridiculously white. Hundreds of cups of coffee later, it matches perfectly from the side and is only slightly lighter from the top. Mine’s on the side, where you can’t see it unless I smile very wide.

MLS, was that Cerec? I’ve heard good things about Cerec. My dentist here in Minnesota uses that procedure, and I wish I’d been here when my dental trauma was going on. Instead I was stuck at school in Iowa, with “old-school” cap procedures, so I had to go to multiple appointments.

*The temporary cap was on trip number three in under a month. Including a root canal.

I don’t remember whether the dentist mentioned Cerec, but I googled the Cerec site and the stuff there looked a lot like what my dentist as using.

I’m planning on doing my next crown with Cerec; I’m tired of dentists and their assistants telling me that temporary crowns don’t hurt, and being content to leave me in a high level of pain for up to three weeks.

Caps aren’t different than other procedures, except you have to make multiple appointments.

I moved from Canada to France a couple of years ago. I have had a fair bit of work done on my teeth while in France, including having a crown installed on a molar. Most of the old tooth was removed in the first visit (as has been mentioned, the grinding down of the old tooth does not smell nice), but no temporary cap was installed. A week later (actually, today), the new crown was glued in place. I was surprised by the fact that, similar to my previous visits to my French dentist, no anaesthetic was used, and even more surprised that I have experienced no pain to speak of. It’s not that I have a high tolerance to pain (the tooth I recently had capped had been bothering me). This leads me to suspect either that North American dentists use novocaine unnecessarily, or that they are simply not taught how to do painless dentistry. Obviously, even French dentists must use novocaine on occasion, and maybe I have just been lucky not to have needed it so far.

Getting a tooth capped hurts like a motherfuck, but that’s about what you would expect for getting shot in the mouth.