In September 2015, my dentist placed three new crowns on molar teeth with bad decay. One tooth began to hurt and feel sensitive on and off a few months ago. Recently, the symptoms increased. My dentist did an x-ray and said there is a cavity beneath the crown. I am disappointed because I’ve only had the crowns for six years. And why would I have a cavity beneath it? My dentist asked me to schedule an appointment to remove the crown and decay, but I am questioning her technique. How do I know this will not happen with the other crowns? If it recurs, am I going to lose the tooth and need a dental implant? Thank you. Heather from MS
You’ve almost had the crowns six years. A crown should last longer than that. And the tooth beneath the crown should not decay.
When You Have Decay Beneath a Crown
You might have decay beneath a dental crown if your dentist left roughness at the margin or if there is a tiny gap. Roughness or a gap attracts plaque and leaves the area at risk for decay. When placing a crown, a dentist must ensure that the area where your crown and tooth meet is smooth and gap free.
How Long Should a Crown Last?
Insurance companies expect a dental crown to last at least five years. And they will not pay for a replacement crown before then. Most dentists expect a crown to last much longer—up to ten years.
Request a Dental Crown Second Opinion
We suggest that you schedule a second opinion with a dentist with post-graduate cosmetic dentistry training. The dentist will examine your tooth and explain the extent of the decay. Based on the symptoms you described, it does not appear that you are at risk for extraction and dental implant.
The cosmetic dentist’s skill and experience will help restore your tooth and give you a crown that fits and functions well and looks natural.
David Finley, DDS, a Monroe, LA dentist and Fellow of the American Academy of General Dentistry, sponsors this post.