There are a variety of reasons where a person may need to have a crown on their tooth. Maybe some trauma caused a tooth to crack, or they had a root canal. A person may also have a crown if they had a cavity that was in an area that was too difficult to fill via traditional methods. Regardless of the reason, they have a shiny new crown in place, and some time goes by. Then that tooth starts to hurt again… What does that mean?
There are a few things that could have happened. If the crown didn’t seal properly, bacteria may have gotten under the crown, causing additional damage or cavities. Trauma, such as a fall, sports injury, or traffic accident, can also damage or displace a crown. This would also allow bacteria to get into the underlying tooth and tissue. The end result being that a root canal is required.
What happens if there is already a crown and a root canal is needed?
The dentist will assess the situation and consider a variety of factors before proceeding:
- Is the crown seated properly?
- Is it intact?
- What is causing the pain?
- Can the crown be salvaged?
If the crown is seated properly and everything is intact, the dentist will be able to perform a root canal or cavity filling through the existing crown, and simply patch the crown when he’s finished. If the crown is damaged or hasn’t sealed properly, the crown will be removed. Replacing the crown will depend on whether or not there is enough remaining tooth structure to support a crown.
It’s important to remember that, while porcelain, crowns are not invincible. Proper dental care is required if a crown is going to last more than a few years. Although they will wear down over time, a crown should last many years before needing a replacement. Cavities can happen to crowns (because there is tooth beneath them), so make sure to brush after meals and floss daily. The edges where the crown meets the gum line, or margins, of the crown are especially susceptible to wear and tear. Make sure to get proper care instructions from the dentist after having a crown put in.
Be sure to notify the dentist if a crowned tooth begins to hurt. Any bacteria that get in under a damaged crown will be impossible to remove via brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. They will continue to eat at what’s beneath the crown until a dentist rectifies the situation, either via a simple cavity filling or a root canal. Having tooth pain? Give Dr. Chauvin a call!