Teeth With Crowns Can Still Have Problems!
By contactus@drjrobb.com
January 17, 2022
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

“I’ve got a crown or cap, so I don’t have to worry about my tooth ever again, right?”


False. While a crown does protect your tooth by covering most of its surface, there is still a junction or margin where your tooth and crown meet. Your tooth can decay around this margin. And of course, any tooth can develop periodontal or gum disease. So it is still important to brush and floss around your crowns. Flossing is especially important since it cleans the areas in between your teeth where your brush can’t reach and where it is harder for your dentist to fix any problems that do develop.


If you do get decay around your crown, what are your options?


Hopefully you are seeing your dentist on a regular basis and the cavity has been found while it is small. If it is on the tongue or cheek side of your crown and is small, you may be able to have a filling placed to get you by for a while--though you should plan for a new crown in the future.


If the decay is large or is between your teeth, your best option is to remove the crown to see what’s underneath. X-rays often can’t tell your dentist how large the problem is because the material the crown is made of blocks the x-rays. And it’s almost impossible to know if all the decay has been removed without being able to see the tooth itself. If all the decay isn’t removed, you risk the need for more expensive procedures or loss of the tooth in the future.


"But you can put that crown back on, right?"


it is rare that a crown can be removed in a way that allows it to be re-cemented on your tooth. Often, the process of removing the crown destroys the crown, and a new crown is necessary.


Because crowns are expensive, you might be tempted to wait until there is an undeniable problem before you decide to do any treatment. Be warned,  if you do so, you might be leaving yourself open to needing additional, often costly treatment or risk not being able to save the tooth at all.


I have seen teeth where the decay eats all the way through the tooth until the crown breaks off (with part of the tooth inside), leaving only a flat root behind. A crown or other restoration needs something above the gum to hold onto. These teeth are usually not able to be restored, and the root needs to be removed. (Teeth that are removed should be replaced in order to keep your best dental health.)


I have also removed a crown to find that the cavity burrowed into the tooth until it hit the dental pulp which contains the tooth’s nerve. This creates an abscess which is often painful. These teeth need a root canal (in addition to the core build-up and new crown) if you want to keep the tooth. The alternative is having the tooth removed and replacing it.


Please realize that these are just generalities, and you should discuss with your dentist what options you have for your specific situation.


If you think you have a problem with one of your crowns and do not have a dentist, I invite you to join my practice by calling 440-960-1940 or by using the contact form on my website at www.drjrobb.com  


*Note: Information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare team.