There is decay beneath three of my five dental crowns. I need another root canal on one of the teeth. I’m wondering if it’s possible to reuse a crown after a root canal. I have a gag reflex and hate the thought of needing dental implants or dentures. I thought that when I got the crowns in 2011, I wouldn’t need another root canal. It’s disappointing that this process keeps repeating itself. Should I switch dentists? Thanks for your advice. – Harleigh from Portland, ME
Whether or not your dentist can save your crowns depends on the extent of decay beneath them. Your dentist might need to cut off the crowns, which would make them impossible to reuse.
If your dentist can remove the crowns intact, it may be possible to reline them and bond them back in place.
Switching dentists probably won’t resolve the issue with decay beneath your crowns. If you frequently need crowns and get decay beneath them, several factors can help:
- Reduce your frequency of eating and snacking throughout the day
- Brush your teeth regularly and floss between them
- Keep in mind that good oral hygiene isn’t a substitute for a lot of snacking
- Keep your regularly scheduled appointments for dental cleanings and exams so your dentist can monitor your crowns
Neither dentures nor dental implants should be necessary if you get treatment promptly. Untreated decay will progress and eventually cause infection, which can lead to extraction and the need for a dental implant. Unless all your teeth are unhealthy and beyond saving, you shouldn’t consider dentures.
It’s best to pursue good oral health and take care of the decay beneath your crowns. Even if you need new dental crowns, they are less expensive than dental implants. And it’s worth the cost to preserve your natural teeth instead of extracting them in exchange for dentures.
Accredited cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek of Lowell, MA, sponsors this post.