From time to time, we have to advise a patient that he or she has a cavity. Whereupon the patient replies, “What do you mean I have a cavity? Each of my teeth has a tooth crown. How can that be possible?”
Unfortunately, it’s quite possible. Teeth with dental crowns are as likely if not more likely than teeth without tooth crowns to develop cavities. To understand the reason for this, let’s look at what dental crowns are and the purposes they serve.
Dental Crowns: the Basics
Dental crowns are a way of repairing teeth that are cracked, broken, or already have too many fillings to take any more. They restore the tooth’s appearance and stability.
Dental crowns are caps that fit over the tooth, are custom-made to match its shape, and are placed permanently. They’re generally made of tough synthetic materials that match the appearance of natural teeth although some patients still opt for gold.
As you would expect, the dentist removes any decay before placing the tooth crown. How, then, can bacteria attack the tooth and produce a new cavity once the tooth is covered up?
Why Dental Crowns Don’t Always Prevent Cavities
Plaque, a biofilm made up of food debris and harmful bacteria, tends to accumulate at the neck of the tooth near the gum line. In a tooth with a tooth cap, this is also the area known as the margin, the junction or joint where the natural tooth and dental crown meet. You can think of the margin as a kind of border that makes a complete circle around the tooth. When plaque builds up here, eventually a new cavity will develop.
Occasionally, a tooth crown doesn’t fit properly. When this is the case, it makes it easier for bacteria to attack the tooth underneath.
Preventing Cavities in Teeth with Dental Crowns
You can make a cavity less likely in a tooth with a tooth cap in the same ways you make cavities less likely in all your teeth.
First, follow a good daily oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss regularly, and use any additional cleaning tools and methods your dentist recommends for you.
Second, see your dentist every six months or as often as he or she advises you this is indicated for a thorough cleaning and examination. (But if you have a dental crown that’s cracked or feels loose, or if you’re experiencing any pain of sensitivity, don’t wait for your next regularly scheduled appointment. Arrange to see your dentist right away.) Catching problems early is the key to a less drastic, time-consuming, and expensive intervention.
Dental Crowns, Cavities, and the Dental Examination
Additionally, X-rays enable the dental team to detect problems that are as yet invisible to the naked eye. Many cavities are tiny and hard to detect in their early stages.
Dental Crowns and Cavities: The Takeaway
If you have any concerns that a tooth with a tooth crown may be developing a cavity, or any concerns whatsoever about your dental care, dental implants, dental crowns, veneers, or dentures, please call Kopp Dental in Elmhurst, and we will be happy to see you for a consultation. We care about your dental health.
Kopp Dental in Elmhurst where the patient is our primary concern: 630-941-8398