Absolutely! As an example of how, let me tell you Michael's story:
"Ever since I had that crown done, it hurts to bite down!"
Michael first came to see me not because of a dental problem, but because he was taking over our office computer network in the fall of 2010. However, as he was resolving some network issues, we got to talking about the office, the kinds of things we do, just general stuff. And at one point, he mentioned that he hadn't been to a dentist in about 3 years, because the last time he went, the doctor cemented in a crown, and it had been hurting him ever since every time he bit into food. No sensitivity to cold or heat, just biting down, especially into chewy foods.
CALL Your Dentist if it Hurts to Bite Down After a Filling or Crown
Naturally, I told him the first thing he needed to do was to call the dentist and have them check it out, but he refused, saying that he just didn't like their office. So naturally, I suggested he let me take a look. Finally, he agreed.
On exam, the crown looked perfectly good! The edges (we call it a "margin") were well-sealed to the tooth with no gaps, the shape was good, color was a pretty good match. THEN I used the piece of blue marking paper (yes, it is kind of like carbon paper, if you're curious) to have him bite down, which made a mark on the crown where the teeth came together. The mark was broad and dark, right in the middle of the crown, and all the marks on the teeth in front and behind were much smaller and lighter, which meant he was hitting on the crown much harder.
A Filling or Crown that is "High" Means Every Bite is Bruising Your Tooth
Imagine if someone started tapping their fist against your shoulder. Not really very hard, but firmly enough that after 5-10 light punches you could feel it getting sore. But instead of stopping, that someone just KEEPS ON punching you lightly......hundreds or thousands of time. How much would you bet the shoulder -- oops, I mean your tooth! -- will hurt?
That's basically what happens when a filling or crown is a bit too thick on the chewing surface - every single time you bite down, or even worse, if you grind your teeth at night, you are bruising that tooth. Is it any wonder that it gets sore to touch, and that you start avoiding food on that side?
So what did I do? I got out that trustly little drill with an ultra fine grit polishing bur, and I reduced the crown right on that spot a little, then had Michael tap on the blue paper again, repeating several times, until he said it felt "perfect!"
Michael's Toothache was Cured
I next saw Michael a couple weeks after that, when he was back to install some new computer items. Of course, I asked how his tooth felt, and he said it felt so much better, and now he can chew on that side with no problems or discomfort. And of course, I felt pretty good for "curing" his toothache with nothing more than a little adjusment to his bite. :-D