Dental restorations such as crowns or veneers can cover up the damage left behind by tooth decay. Porcelain veneers, for example, attach to the frontal surface of a tooth, while crowns encapsulate a tooth. In both cases, the damage is hidden, often with veneers or crowns made of porcelain. However, although porcelain is durable, it does not make a tooth impervious to future tooth decay.

Teeth that have been treated with veneers or crowns can still suffer from tooth decay. That is why it is important that patients take care to ensure they clean around their restorations.

Tooth Decay at the Margins of Crowns

When comparing crowns and veneers in terms of which is more at risk of tooth decay, crowns are slightly more at risk. However, in patients that practice excellent oral hygiene, this risk is the same as that of your natural teeth. If you brush and floss 2-3 times a day, you should have little to worry about.

When a crown is placed over a tooth, the margin—the place where the edge of the crown meets the edge of the natural tooth—is the area where decay is most likely to occur. Porcelain crowns themselves cannot decay. If food debris and bacteria are allowed to accumulate at the margin, the tooth may begin to decay. This is why it is important that you brush and floss this area.

Porcelain Veneers Are Easier to Clean

When it comes to porcelain veneers, the margins are easier to clean than those of porcelain crowns. This is because the margins of porcelain veneers rarely extend below the gum line. In addition, it is also easy to floss and brush the edges of veneers, where they come into contact with the sides of teeth.

As with crowns, if bacteria is allowed to accumulate along the margins, then the teeth may begin to decay in these areas.

What Happens if Decay Occurs?

If you spot decay at the edge of a porcelain veneer, your dentist can repair it using composite resin to seal the area once the decay has been removed. However, in regards to crowns, replacement is often the best course of action since the decay could also be present beneath the crown. The dentist will then need to remove the crown in order to get to the decay. They will then need to prepare another crown since the old one will no longer fit.

If you plan to get crowns or veneers, remember that they cannot completely protect the remaining tooth structure from decay. You still need to continue brushing and flossing. Talk to a professional at a place like Care Dental for more information.