Understanding Decay Under Dental Crowns

If one of your teeth has been severely damaged, then your dentist may want to place a dental crown on the tooth. This is wise to protect the tooth from further damage and decay and to reduce the chances that a full extraction is needed at a later date. Since crowns can keep teeth from deteriorating, you may think that they are safe from cavities once the crown is fully adhered. However, this is not the case. Read more to learn about your cavity risks and how to reduce them.

How Can Cavities Form?

Cavities obviously cannot develop in the porcelain of a dental crown. However, they can form underneath them. Porcelain crowns are formed and tapered along the edges. The tapering helps to place the crown just underneath the edge of the gums. While the crown lip is covered by the soft tissues, food can easily work its way underneath the gumline. When this happens, food can gather under the edge of the crown and deteriorate the dentin of the exposed tooth root. A cavity can form.

Once bacteria are able to develop a cavity, the decay can spread and move underneath the dental crown. You may not see the cavity, but if you look closely, you might see a dark spot forming under the translucent edge of the tooth cap. You will definitely feel discomfort once the cavity reaches close to the middle of the tooth though. When the tooth starts to emit strong pain signals, then you will likely notice the issue. The tooth will need to be treated, which means that a filling is required. This requires the removal of the crown and the creation of a new one.

How Can Cavities Be Prevented?

Since a dental cavity means that the crown will need to be fully replaced, it is best to avoid decay as much as possible. To do so, make sure to brush and floss daily. Also, since cavities tend to develop underneath the gumline, use a water flosser to gently flush around the gums and underneath them. Cleaning is central to keeping decay at bay, but you also should keep your gums from becoming recessed. 

While gum disease and gingivitis are usually the cause of tissue recession, there are several other causes of the issue. Grinding can cause recession problems and lead to the falling of the gum tissues. Also, smoking habits, genetics, and trauma can cause gum issues as well. While you may not be able to directly keep trauma at bay or prevent problems associated with your genes, you can quit smoking and work on your oral hygiene to cut down on the possibility of decay developing under a crown.