What your Glendale Dentist Wants You to Know about Tooth Decay under Your Crowns!
Glendale dentists use dental crowns for various reasons. During a dental exam, your Glendale dentist may find a cracked tooth or filling, or a tooth that has extensive decay that will not leave enough of the natural tooth to repair with a filling. These are some of the problems that are often repaired with a dental crown.
Before your dentist can place the crown on your tooth, any decay must be removed and the tooth must be filed down and reshaped. How much of the natural tooth must be removed depends upon the amount of damage and the type of crown that will be used. If it’s necessary to remove a great deal of the natural tooth your dentist may find it necessary to use bonding material to build the tooth up before placing the crown.
Often dental patients are under the mistaken impression that once a dental crown has been placed over a tooth, that tooth is no longer vulnerable to decay. If you are the recipient of a dental crown, your Glendale cosmetic dentist should educate you on possible problems and how to care for the crown in order to lessen the chance of those problems occurring.
Although you may be unable to see any of the original tooth structure above the gum line, part of your natural tooth is still there. That’s what your dental crown is cemented to. You will be instructed on flossing, brushing, and possibly the use of a fluoride rinse.
Although a Glendale dental crown is made of a strong metal, porcelain, or a combination of the two, the areas at the edges of the crown, where it is attached to what’s left of your natural tooth, are still susceptible to decay. Your dentist will call the edge of the crown the margin. Over time the gums recede and this margin can become wider; this is the weak spot. Food more readily collects at the margin and if you eat a lot of sugary or acidic foods and are not fastidious about your oral hygiene you’re asking for trouble. In order to help keep the margin and the space between the teeth (interproximal space) clean, your dentist may recommend a water flosser and/or special cleaning tools to keep your crown clean.
Decay under and around dental crowns can sometimes happen quickly. Contributing factors include a dry mouth, poor oral hygiene and oral pH that is too acidic. Along with good oral hygiene it can be helpful to drink water often, and swish some around your mouth and teeth frequently, especially after eating or drinking.
The reason your dentist is so concerned about keeping your crown clean is that decay around and under the crown can be extremely difficult to detect, especially if it occurs in between the teeth. Since dental crowns contain metal, what’s underneath the metal cannot be seen on an x-ray.
Occasionally, if an x-ray beam is placed at just the right angle the decay may be visible, but often even after examining the x-ray, the only chance the dentist has of finding decay is by probing the area around the crown. That’s why your dentist will often spend extra time during your dental exam using his explorer to feel all around the edges of any crowns. He will run the explorer around the margins, which should feel smooth. He will also press the point of the explorer in at various areas around the margin looking for any soft spots, paying special attention to the space between the teeth, which is by far the most common place for decay to start. Even then, sometimes the most conscientious dentist may not be able to detect decay under a crown until the patient begins to exhibit symptoms, such as tooth sensitivity and pain. Furthermore, if the tooth has had root canal therapy, which means the nerve is no longer present, then pain may not even be a clue, so don’t neglect regular dental exams.
A dental crown is a long lasting form of restoration, and the crown itself is stronger than a natural tooth. Problems only come in if decay forms under a dental crown, then the decay must be removed and the crown must be replaced as soon as possible in order to avoid a root canal, a fracture of the tooth root and loss of the tooth.
Many times, with good oral hygiene and regular dental exams a crown can last a lifetime.
Sometimes people experience extreme wear of dental crowns due to nighttime teeth grinding. If you have a problem with grinding your teeth at night, your dentist can create a custom fitted night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
Today, most people don’t realize how lucky they are to live in the age of modern dentistry. Not that long ago teeth that are restored with dental crowns would have been extracted at best and at worst would have broken off, become infected and caused a cascade of health problems. It’s possible for the bacteria from an infected tooth to spread to the bloodstream and organs, resulting in death. It can still happen today if people neglect dental and medical care. Even in the last few years there have been several confirmed cases of young, otherwise healthy people who have died from a tooth infection.
At Aesthetic Dentistry of Arrowhead Dr. Ceyhan has been practicing contemporary dentistry for over two decades. He continues to teach at Midwestern University School of Dental Medicine and attends continuing education courses and seminars in order to stay on the cutting edge of dentistry. Dr. Ceyhan uses his considerable skill and knowledge to make every effort to preserve his patient’s teeth and oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about our dental services.
Glendale, Arizona 85308
Phone: (623) 979-1515
Fax: (623) 878-1811