My porcelain veneers are sensitive, do I need a crown?

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I love the way my new porcelain veneers look! Since I’ve had them, I feel more confident and younger looking. I have had them for about three months now.

However, ever since I got them done, my teeth are super sensitive. Anything hot or cold makes me cringe. I am starting to get really concerned that I may need a root canal. Does this sound normal? I wish I would have been told this could be a side effect. I honestly don’t know if it would have changed my decision to get them. But, it would have been nice to know.

Hopefully, you have some answers.

-Savannah in Texas


It’s great that you love your new look, but it is unfortunate that you have been having sensitivity. It is pretty uncommon that a patient would require a root canal after getting porcelain veneers. However, anytime there is dental work done, it is possible to irritate the nerve.

The tooth is made of several layers. The very inside of the tooth is where the nerves sit, called the pulp. The dentin surround the inner layer and then the enamel is located on the exterior. The dentin and the tooth enamel protect the nerve center inside the tooth. Since you likely had some of the tooth structure shaved down in preparation of the porcelain veneers, it is possible that the nerves were irritated.

The nerve may respond if the tooth is disturbed. Most of the time, you don’t have any issues unless you bite down too hard on something. But, since the enamel is thin, you may be more susceptible to sensitivity since the nerve is closer to the surface.

Another possibility is that the “pores” in your teeth are larger than average. The “pores” open and close during teeth whitening, which is why many people complain of sensitivity after tooth whitening. They are a direct gateway to the nerve center of the tooth. But typically those “pores” close back up and the sensitivity subsides.

When you have a cavity, the nerve can become irritated too. If the decay or infection reaches the pulp of the tooth, a root canal is the typical treatment.

diagram of a tooth where a root canal has formed
Example of a tooth that requires a root canal.

Also, there is a significant portion of the tooth removed in preparation of a dental crown too. So, it is common for patients to experience sensitivity. But, for porcelain veneers, only a tiny portion of the enamel is removed. So, your teeth should have proper protection in place to combat sensitivity.

Therefore, it is possible there is another issue going on with the teeth. And maybe the placement of the veneers disturbed it further.

Usually post-operative sensitivity only lasts for a few days or weeks after a procedure. So, if you are still experiencing discomfort after several months, you need to go back and have your teeth examined to make sure there isn’t something else going on.

There may be an issue with the way the porcelain veneers are bonded to the teeth, which may allow bacteria and decay to form underneath them. Or it is possible your bite is misaligned. If the teeth aren’t coming together correctly, they could be bothering the nerve when you bite down. If this is the case, the veneers can be adjusted to alleviate the problem.

So, there are many possibilities. It’s time to make a follow-up appointment with the dentist that placed the porcelain veneers so any issues can be addressed sooner than later.

This post is sponsored by a cosmetic dentist in Lexington, Hamburg Expressions.