Dental crowns effectively restore the strength of your damaged and decayed tooth. While they are designed to form a tight seal over the restored tooth, the sealant can wear off over time allowing bacteria to grow in the space between the crown and your natural tooth.
The bacteria can cause cavities and damage your natural tooth under the crown if left untreated. As with any cavity, we must also promptly fix the cavities under the crown to prevent further complications.
How To Tell If You Are Developing A Cavity Under Your Crown?
You must see your dentist immediately to limit the damage if there is bacterial growth or tooth decay under your crown. Some signs that might indicate that you have an infection under your crown include the following-
- Sensitivity of the restored tooth with a crown to cold or hot temperatures.
- Pain, especially when applying pressure on the crown.
- A visible decay or discoloration of the tooth underneath the crown.
- A foul taste in your mouth.
If you have any of these symptoms, you may have tooth decay under your crown. If the condition is not treated promptly, it can cause severe damage, and you can even risk losing your tooth.
Who Are At Risk of Developing Cavities Under a Crown?
While anyone with a dental crown can potentially develop cavities under it, some people are at a higher risk than others. Some of the risk factors include-
- Poor oral hygiene
- Consumption of a high amount of sugary or acidic foods
- Skipping six-monthly dental checkups and cleanings
- Individuals with dry mouth
- History of gum or gingival disease
You must maintain good oral hygiene if crowns are installed over your teeth. Plaque and tartar can harbor bacteria that can find their way underneath the crown, causing dental decay.
You must visit your dentist at least once every six months to get a dental checkup and see whether your crown is functioning properly.
What To Do If You Have A Cavity Under Your Crown?
Early intervention is the key to preventing damage and, eventually, tooth loss if you develop a cavity under your crown. The treatment options for a cavity under a tooth crown depend on the extent of the decay.
Your dentist might offer a few options to treat a cavity under a crown:
1. Dental Filling
If the cavity is caught early and the decay is limited to the tooth’s surface, your dentist may be able to remove the decay and place a filling. The filling will be placed in the area where the decay was removed and will help to prevent bacteria and other microbes from entering the tooth and causing further damage.
2. Crown Replacement
If the cavity is more extensive and has affected the underlying tooth structure, your dentist may need to remove the existing crown and replace it with a new one. In this case, the dentist will remove the decay, shape the tooth, and place a new crown to protect it and restore its function.
3. Root canal
You may require a root canal if the cavity has reached the tooth’s pulp. It is a procedure in which the dentist removes the infected or damaged pulp, cleans and disinfects the tooth, and places a filling to seal the tooth. A new crown will be placed after the root canal to protect and restore the tooth.
In some cases, the tooth may be so badly damaged that it cannot be saved and will need to be extracted. If this is the case, the dentist will discuss replacement options such as a bridge or implant to replace the missing tooth.
How To Prevent Cavities From Forming Under A Dental Crown?
Taking steps to prevent cavities from forming under your crown is better than finding a treatment after the fact.
Here are a few steps to protect your teeth with crowns from getting infected:
- Brush your teeth and around the crown at least twice a day with a dentist-recommended fluoride toothpaste
- Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash
- Try to limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks, and if you do, ensure that you rinse your mouth thoroughly afterward.
- Regular dental checkups and cleanings can help to identify and treat potential issues early before they become more serious.
- If you feel pain or discomfort or notice any changes in the fit of your crown, it’s important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Contrary to what many believe, getting a cavity under a tooth crown is possible. If you act promptly and get your crown checked by a dentist, it is possible to prevent it from becoming a disaster.