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Can you get cavities under a dental crown?

A dental crown is one of the many ways that your dentist may recommend to restore a damaged tooth. It is made from strong materials that can effectively protect and restore the shape and function of a natural tooth. While dental crowns (https://dennistan.com.sg/crowns-bridges/) are made to last a long time, there is no guarantee that the tooth underneath it can be free from cavities.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is tooth damage in the form of a hole that happens when the mouth’s acid erode the tooth’s enamel. This happens when:

  • The bacteria in the mouth feeds and converts foods and beverages that are loaded with sugar and starch into harmful acids affecting the teeth.
  • The acid, bacteria, and saliva combines together, resulting in dental plaque. Dental plaque is a thin film of acid that coats the teeth every time we consume foods and beverages.
  • Failing to practise good oral hygiene daily by flossing and brushing the teeth can allow the dental plaque to dissolve the teeth’s enamel and cause tooth decay, leading to cavities.

You will know that you have cavities when you experience the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Gingivitis
  • Inflammation in the gums
  • Other signs of gum disease
  • Pain in the mouth or tooth
  • Sensitivity to foods and drinks that are either hot or cold

When is a dental crown used to restore a tooth that has cavity?

There are various ways to restore a tooth that has cavity depending on it gravity, such as:

  • Dental crowns
  • Dental fillings
  • Root canal therapy
  • Tooth extraction

A dental crown can be used to cover and protect a natural tooth that has been damaged significantly and cannot be addressed with dental filings, but can still be saved. Dental crowns may also be used in other dental procedures that aim to fix tooth decay and damage, including:

  • Cosmetic improvements — A dental crown is placed over a healthy teeth that may have minimal flaws like a chip or crack, surface discoloration, or has a weird shape.
  • Dental bridges — This is a set of artificial teeth that takes the place of missing teeth. A dental bridge is placed in between the gap of two natural teeth. A dental crown is usually bonded over the neighbouring teeth to allow each end of the bridge to have a foundation that it can be attached to.
  • Root canal therapy — Root canal therapy is done on a tooth that has been damaged severely to the extent that the decay has reached the root. This dental procedure removes the tissue that has been infected and places a dental crown over the tooth to protect it from further damage.

What are the types of dental crowns?

The variety of dental crowns in Singapore that are available today are numerous. There is certainly one that would perfectly suit your personal taste and oral health requirements.

Aside from a permanent, full dental crown, below are other types of dental crowns:

  • One-day crown — This uses a crown that is made on the same day of your dental appointment and is made out of a block of ceramic using computer-aided design and manufacturing technology (CAD/CAM). This type of crown may not be suited for everyone.
  • Onlay or 3/4 crown — This crown is used to cover only a part of the tooth instead of the whole.
  • Temporary crown — This crown is used for a short period of time to protect the tooth while waiting for the production of the permanent dental crown.

Dental crowns are made of the following materials:

  • All-ceramic or porcelain
  • All-resin
  • Metal
  • Procelain-fused-to-metal (PFM)
  • Pressed ceramic
  • Zirconia

To choose the type of dental crown, consider these factors:

  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Strength

Your dentist will also take into consideration some aspects when recommending a dental crown, including:

  • The amount of natural tooth remaining
  • The colour of the neighbouring teeth
  • The location of your tooth
  • The position of your gum tissue
  • The role of the tooth that needs the dental crown

It is best that you have a discussion about your dentist regarding the different kinds of dental crown materials available to know and be able to choose the right type for you. Do not shy away from sharing your personal preferences during your consultation.

Is it possible to have cavities under a dental crown?

Unfortunately, cavities can develop under a dental crown. This can happen due to a number of reasons:

  • Decay in the tooth surface by the gum line
  • Ill-fitted dental crowns
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Root canal failure
  • Wear and tear

Decay in the tooth surface by the gum line. The remaining part of the natural tooth that is exposed near the gum line can accumulate dental plaque and damage the enamel under the dental crown.

Ill-fitted dental crowns. In the case of ill-fitted dental crowns, bacteria can seep into the tiny gaps where the crown is not firmly attached to and cause cavities.

Poor oral hygiene. Artificial teeth, such as dental crowns, need proper care just like natural teeth. If it is not cleaned, cavity causing bacteria can thrive in the tooth that is beneath the crown.

Root canal failure. A decayed tissue that has not been removed fully can damage the remaining natural tooth by spreading under the dental crown.

Wear and tear. A dental crown usually lasts for more than 10 years. However, they can still be damaged, especially when the function and location of the tooth they are covering is used often, such as the molars. Some conditions like bruxism can also weaken its material faster. Other factors like accidents or injuries to the mouth can also break dental crowns.

How can a cavity beneath a dental crown be fixed?

Decay in the tooth surface by the gum line can be fixed by a dental filling, if the damage is not deep. In severe cases, the dental crown will be removed in order to fill in the cavity and have a new crown attached to the tooth. For cavities that cannot be easily reached, removing the dental crown will be done as well in order to treat the damage first and then have a new crown placed over the treated tooth.

Dennis Tan Dental Surgery – Dr Dennis Tan

22 Malacca St, # 03-01,

RB Capital Building, S(048980)


+65 6438 5622

+65 8874 7681 (Whatsapp)

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