Do teeth go bad under crowns?

dental crowns
dental crowns

Dental crowns are a cornerstone of modern dentistry, offering cosmetic and functional benefits. They cap damaged or decaying teeth, providing strength and improving appearance. However, a common concern arises: do teeth go bad under crowns? This article delves into the intricacies of dental crowns and explores the possibility of decay beneath them.

Understanding Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are custom-fitted coverings placed over a tooth. Made from various materials like porcelain, ceramic, or metal, they are designed to restore a tooth’s shape, size, strength, and appearance. Fitting a crown usually involves reshaping the tooth and taking a mould, which is then used to create the custom crown.

Potential Issues with Crowns

While crowns are durable, they’re not invulnerable. Failures can occur due to wear and tear, poor fit, or improper installation. One of the most concerning issues is the development of decay under a crown. This occurs when bacteria infiltrate the space between the tooth and the crown, often due to gaps or wear over time.

Factors Leading to Tooth Decay Under Crowns

Several factors can contribute to decay under crowns. Poor dental hygiene is a primary cause, as plaque buildup can lead to decay. Additionally, gaps can form if a crown is not fitted correctly, allowing bacteria and food particles to enter. Furthermore, pre-existing issues with the tooth, such as minor decay not wholly removed before crown placement, could worsen over time.

Symptoms and Detection

Symptoms of problems under a crown include pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, and swelling around the tooth. Dentists use various diagnostic methods to detect these issues, with X-rays being crucial—these help identify any decay or problems with the crown’s fit.

Prevention and Maintenance

Preventing decay under crowns involves regular dental check-ups and proper oral hygiene. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash can significantly reduce the risk. Regular dental visits are essential for early detection and management of any issues.

Treatment Options for Decay Under Crowns

If decay is detected under a crown, treatment options vary. In some cases, replacing the crown is sufficient. A root canal may be necessary if the decay has reached the tooth’s pulp. In severe cases, tooth extraction might be the only option. Advancements in dental technology have improved the effectiveness and comfort of these treatments.

Case Studies and Expert Opinions

Many patients have experienced decay under crowns, often due to neglect or unawareness. Regular check-ups could have prevented these issues. Dental experts emphasize the importance of maintenance and regular visits to detect problems early.


While dental crowns are an effective solution for restoring damaged teeth, they require careful maintenance. Regular dental check-ups and proper oral hygiene prevent decay under crowns. With the right care, crowns can last for many years, contributing significantly to oral health and overall well-being.