Skip to main content
BlogDental Health

Are Dental Crowns Immune to Decay and Deterioration?

By August 28, 2023September 1st, 2023No Comments

Are Dental Crowns Immune to Decay and Deterioration?

Are Dental Crowns Immune to Decay and DeteriorationDental crowns are versatile dental restorations used to restore damaged or weakened teeth, providing both aesthetic and functional benefits. Commonly made from materials like porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, or a combination of these, dental crowns are designed to mimic the appearance and strength of natural teeth. Many individuals wonder if dental crowns are immune to decay and deterioration, believing that once a tooth is capped with a crown, it becomes impervious to damage.

Understanding Dental Crowns

Dental crowns, also known as dental caps, are custom-made prosthetic restorations that encase a tooth or a dental implant, restoring its shape, size, strength, and appearance. They are commonly used to treat teeth with extensive decay, fractures, large fillings, or those that have undergone root canal therapy. The primary goal of dental crowns is to protect the underlying tooth structure while improving its function and esthetics.

Types of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are crafted from various materials, each offering unique advantages and disadvantages:

  1. Porcelain Crowns: Porcelain crowns provide the most natural appearance and are suitable for restoring front teeth. They are highly resistant to stains, making them an aesthetically pleasing choice. However, they are more prone to chipping and may not be as durable as other materials.
  2. Ceramic Crowns: Similar to porcelain crowns, ceramic crowns offer excellent aesthetics and are ideal for front teeth restorations. They are less prone to chipping, making them a preferred option for those seeking a balance between aesthetics and durability.
  3. Metal Crowns: Metal crowns, commonly made of gold or other metal alloys, are incredibly strong and rarely chip or break. However, their metallic appearance makes them less appealing for visible areas of the mouth, which is why they are typically used for molars.
  4. Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal (PFM) Crowns: PFM crowns combine the strength of metal with the natural appearance of porcelain, making them suitable for both front and back teeth restorations. However, over time, the metal edge may become visible as the gumline recedes, affecting the overall appearance.

Are Dental Crowns Immune to Decay?

Despite their robust construction, dental crowns are not completely immune to decay and deterioration. The crown itself cannot develop cavities, as it is an artificial structure. However, the tooth underneath the crown can still decay if proper oral hygiene is not maintained.

The margin where the crown meets the natural tooth, known as the crown margin, is the most vulnerable area to decay. If this area is not adequately cleaned, bacteria can accumulate, leading to decay at the tooth-crown interface. Therefore, regular dental check-ups and cleanings are crucial to monitor the condition of the dental crown and ensure the underlying tooth remains healthy.

Deterioration of Dental Crowns

While dental crowns are designed to be durable, they are not invincible and may deteriorate over time. Some common factors that can contribute to the deterioration of dental crowns include:

  1. Wear and Tear: Regular chewing and biting can subject dental crowns to significant wear and tear. Over time, this can lead to chipping or cracking of the crown, especially if a person habitually grinds their teeth (bruxism).
  2. Improper Fit: If a dental crown is not fitted correctly, it can lead to issues like sensitivity, discomfort, and even secondary decay. A well-fitted crown ensures proper distribution of forces during biting and chewing, minimizing the risk of damage.
  3. Bruxism: Individuals who clench or grind their teeth may put excessive pressure on dental crowns, potentially leading to their premature deterioration.
  4. Gum Disease: Periodontal (gum) disease can affect the stability of dental crowns by causing gum recession and exposing the vulnerable crown margins.
  5. Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate oral hygiene practices can lead to the accumulation of plaque and bacteria around the crown margins, contributing to both decay and gum disease.

Caring for Dental Crowns

  1. Proper care and maintenance are essential to prolonging the lifespan of dental crowns and preventing decay and deterioration. Here are some tips to ensure your dental crowns remain in optimal condition:
  2. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and debris from around the dental crown and gumline.
  3. Regular Dental Check-ups: Visit your dentist for routine check-ups and cleanings. They can monitor the condition of your dental crowns and address any issues promptly.
  4. Wear a Night Guard: If you have bruxism, wearing a custom night guard can protect both your natural teeth and dental crowns from excessive grinding forces.
  5. Avoid Chewing Hard Objects: Refrain from using your teeth to open packages or chewing on ice, hard candies, or non-food items, as these habits can damage dental crowns.
  6. Address Gum Disease: If you notice signs of gum disease, such as bleeding or swollen gums, seek prompt dental care to prevent gum recession and subsequent crown complications.

While dental crowns are a valuable and durable dental restoration, they are not immune to decay and deterioration. Regular dental check-ups, good oral hygiene practices, and responsible dental care are essential to ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of dental crowns. By taking proper care of your dental crowns, you can enjoy their benefits for many years to come and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

Need An Appointment? Why wait?

See a dentist within 48 hours