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retained baby tooth causing pain



Junior member
Apr 10, 2010
hi all, I have a retained upper molar. It had a silver crown put on it when I was a child. When I was about 17, it was sized down and re-crowned to match a permanent tooth's size while I had braces. There's pretty much no root left and at every dental cleaning they are amazed it is still hanging in there. It is not loose and I've never had any issues with it - until now. I'm 37.

For the past few days my gums all around the tooth hurt. It is suddenly very sensitive to food and drink. It doesn't appear red or swollen. I'm thinking maybe it's an abscess? Is it possible to have an abscess in a crowned tooth?

Of course one of my biggest nightmares (literally I have had nightmares about losing this tooth!!) is to lose it. Even worse having it pulled.... (aaack!) And having to get a bridge or an implant seems horrifying. And so does having a gap in my smile. Yes I'm a big scaredy cat!!

I do plan on sucking it up and calling my dentist if it's not better in a few days, but I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on what it could be.


Well-known member
Verified dentist
Nov 6, 2005
Yes it is possible to get an abscess in a crowned tooth. In fact I think the statistic is that about 20% of crowned teeth will eventually need root canal work.
The tooth has served you very well- it should have lasted only until you were about 10 or 11 years old! Give it a bit of time, but if the pain doesn't get better in a day or so, or gets worse - call the dentist. In the meantime keep brushing the gum and the tooth and rub toothpaste on the tooth after brushing- it may help reduce any sensitivity.
Dr Mike