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While the dental crown itself cannot become decayed, the underlying tooth structure can. A dental crown is placed after careful shaping and preparation of the tooth surface and then inserted over the remaining tooth structure to restore the crown to its proper form and function.

How Does The Tooth Get Decay Under A Dental Crown?

The most vulnerable part of the interface between the dental crown and the tooth is the area where the edge of the crown meets natural tooth structure. If you are not maintaining good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) to remove the plaque that lives under the gumline, you can develop a cavity on the underlying tooth and root areas. Once decay develops, it can progress quickly into the tooth and move up and under the crown, undermining the support for the dental crown. The following things can happen if you get tooth decay on a tooth with a dental crown:

-Simple Dental Filling Placed At Margin Of Dental Crown. If the tooth decay is caught early enough, there are times where a simple filling can be placed to restore the tooth. This is only done when complete removal of decay can be accessed from the area. The seal is not as strong and leakage can occur under the dental crown over time.

-Root Canal Therapy. If the tooth decay gets close to or invades into the nerve of the tooth a root canal will be needed to save the tooth. If the tooth has already had a root canal performed, it will need to be rebuilt back up so that a new crown can be placed.

-Crown Lengthening. A crown lengthening is a dental procedure where a portion of the bone surrounding a tooth is surgically removed to allow the dentist access to decay that might run down the side of the tooth. This gives access to restore the tooth and also allows for proper placement of a new dental crown.

-New Custom Dental Crown Fabricated. In most cases, a new crown will be needed to ensure a proper seal and proper coverage over the existing tooth.

Conclusion

It is important to maintain good dental hygiene but it really becomes important once you have dental crowns. A dental crown generally lasts anywhere from 5-15 years if properly taken care of. If they are not cared for they will not last as long and could develop a bigger issue.  The big tip here is to always maintain good dental hygiene and see your dentist regularly to check the crown edges for leakage and decay.

© 2014, Marielaina Perrone DDS. All rights reserved. Henderson Cosmetic Dentist

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