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Can you get a cavity under a crown?

March 18, 2024

If you've had a root canal or gotten a dental crown, you might be curious: Can you get a cavity under a crown? Although it's not very common, it's possible for a crowned tooth to develop a cavity. It's important to know how to spot signs of decay beneath dental crowns. 

Keep reading to learn more about how cavities can form under crowns and how to recognize them.

How Do Crowns Develop Cavities

Several factors can contribute to the development of a cavity beneath a dental crown:

Marginal Integrity:

The connection between the crown and the natural tooth, known as the margin, must be tightly sealed to prevent bacteria from infiltrating. Gaps or imperfections in this seal can create openings for bacteria, leading to cavity formation.

Pre-existing Decay:

If the tooth beneath the crown had decay before the crown was placed, and if this decay wasn't entirely removed during the procedure, it can persist and eventually lead to a cavity under the crown.

Poor Oral Hygiene:

Failing to maintain proper oral hygiene practices, such as inadequate brushing and flossing, can result in plaque buildup around the margins of the crown. This plaque houses bacteria that produce acids, which can weaken the enamel and initiate cavity development.

Cracks or Fractures:

Any cracks or fractures in the tooth structure, whether present before or after the crown was placed, can compromise the integrity of the seal between the crown and the tooth. This can create opportunities for bacteria to infiltrate and cause decay.

What Happens If You Get a Cavity Under a Crown?

If bacteria seep under a dental crown, it can lead to a cavity forming in the natural tooth. This decay needs to be removed promptly to prevent infection. Sometimes, a damaged tooth may require a root canal procedure.

Signs that suggest possible decay under a crown include:

  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Tooth pain
  • Bad breath
  • Unusual or unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Jaw discomfort
  • Swollen gums
  • A lump on the gum tissue
  • Fever

If a cavity is detected under a crown, your dentist may need to remove the crown to clean out the decayed material. However, if the tooth isn't infected or fractured, the dentist can often fill the cavity without removing the crown, using specialized dental tools and X-ray technology.

How Can I Tell If I Have Tooth Decay or a Cavity Under a Crown?How to Prevent Cavities Under Crowns

Detecting tooth decay or a cavity beneath a dental crown can be challenging, especially if the affected area is small. While you may experience some discomfort under the crown, this might not occur until the decay has progressed significantly.

Regular dental check-ups are essential, as your dentist can perform X-rays to assess for any damage or decay beneath the crown. In some cases, a more thorough oral examination may be necessary to confirm the presence of a cavity.

How to Prevent Cavities Under Crowns?

To keep cavities at bay under dental crowns, make sure you visit your dentist regularly and maintain good oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing and flossing every day and paying extra attention to cleaning around any dental restorations.

Even though cavities can sometimes happen despite your best efforts, taking good care of your teeth greatly reduces the risk of developing a cavity under a dental crown.

Other Signs to Look Out For

While dental crowns are usually reliable, it's important to be alert for any potential issues. If you notice that your crown feels loose, has chipped or cracked, or if your bite feels off, these could be signs of a problem with your crown. Make sure to schedule a dental appointment promptly if you suspect any issues with your dental restoration.


So, Can you get a cavity under a crown? Although dental crowns provide strong protection, cavities can still form underneath them in specific situations. By recognizing the factors that contribute to cavity development and taking preventive actions, you can reduce the likelihood of this happening and preserve your oral health. Make sure to schedule routine dental check-ups and address any issues promptly with your dentist to prolong the lifespan of your dental restorations.

Want to Learn How to Care for Your Dental Crowns? Call Us!

Contact Sunflower Dental Spa, Rockledge, FL, today to schedule your appointment. New patients can call us at (321) 358-1730, and current patients can reach us at (321) 507-4408. Your smile deserves the best care possible!


Can cavities develop under dental crowns?

Cavities can form underneath dental crowns due to factors like marginal integrity, pre-existing decay, poor oral hygiene, and cracks or fractures in the tooth structure.

What should I do if I suspect a cavity under my dental crown?

If you suspect a cavity under your dental crown, schedule an appointment with your dentist for a thorough evaluation. Treatment may involve removing the crown, cleaning out the decay, and placing a new restoration.

Can decay be detected under a crown with an X-ray?

X-rays are useful for spotting any signs of decay or cavities that could be forming underneath the crown.

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