Information for Decay Under An Existing Crown

We have noticed over the years that decay under an existing crown is usually more extensive than shows on the x-ray. This is because the existing crown is made of metal on the inside which completely blocks out the x-ray from “seeing” the inside of the crown. Once the crown is removed during treatment, we gain a complete picture of the full extent of the decay in the tooth below the crown.  Sometimes it is early beginning decay, but unfortunately more often than we would wish, the decay is more extensive than we thought  and jeopardizes the strength of the tooth.  In those cases a buildup of the tooth with a restorative material similar to filling material is used to replace the missing portions of the tooth in an effort to make the tooth stronger. However, in most cases the tooth will never be as strong as it was prior to having decay. This is where the judgment of the dentist is critical to the long-term survival of the tooth. If the buildup is carefully placed and good clean margins for the new crown can be developed in sound tooth structure, then the new crown should offer many years of service.   Unfortunately in some cases the decay is so extensive that the tooth is no longer savable.  This is the point where we would recommend an implant root (hyperlink to description of this procedure) to replace the existing tooth root which results in an artificial root replacement.  While implants have offered phenomenal opportunities for patients to replace  diseased teeth, we still feel that if a tooth can be saved with a reasonable prognosis for longevity, we would prefer this treatment option instead of removing the tooth.  While some dentists may recommend implants as the first approach, we feel that many implants are done where a more conservative approach is desired. Because our practice takes a comprehensive approach to patient needs, we feel we offer greater alternatives by having training in all disciplines in dentistry under one roof. If you have questions about this approach please feel free to ask us for more information.