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Tooth Crowns Do Not Last Forever!

Decay present at the margin of this crown

Decay Below My Crown – You Have Got To Be Kidding Me!


“I thought this crown would last forever, or at least for the rest of my life.”

Gosh, you paid enough for it – the crown should last and last, right?  Yes, we hear this often! When a tooth has a crown, the only place that the patient can get decay is at the margins of the crown or wherever there is still tooth or root exposed.  Bacteria always congregate at the margins of any dental restoration or crown and once decay starts the bacteria can then penetrate up under the edges of the crown as seen here.  Once decay extends below the margins of a crown or any restoration,  and you can no longer get to the decayed are  without cutting the existing crown off and replacing it with a new one.

In our office, we try to explain to patients that there are three things that contribute to the oft-asked question of, “How long will my crown last?”  These three things are correct no matter where you have your crown completed!

  • How well the dentist did their job. Does the crown accurately fit the tooth?  Do the margins of the crown blend smoothly with the supporting tooth and the adjacent tooth?  Is the occlusion of the new crown correct?  Are there appropriate contacts with the adjacent and opposing teeth?  Is the material chosen for the crown appropriate for the situation?  Was the tooth impression perfect? Was a quality lab chosen to complete the work? Yikes this is another area entirely! A good dentist will pay extra for high quality lab work from a reputable dental laboratory that consistently delivers excellent results – patients rarely know what lab is used for their dental work but this is a very important part that you pay for as part of your crown! Does the dentist check their work each time you come in for a periodic examination?


  • And this is just as important! How well does the patient take care of their dental work? Is the diet healthy and appropriate? Do they (you) consistently brush and floss? Are bad habits of clenching, grinding, and other bad habits avoided? Do you seek and receive regular dental care?


  • We have total control of the above two things, however there is one thing that we have no control over – Genetics! Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your situation) genetics plays a big role in how long dental work lasts. Some people do seem to have a genetic advantage. Their dental work lasts longer, their efforts at dental hygiene play a lesser role, and they are just lucky or unlucky this way! Basically, we have control over the first two so that is where we spend our time.

In our office we guarantee any filling for two years and any crown for five years provided that you return for regular cleanings and check ups.  If there is anything wrong with a restoration that we have placed, we will have noticed it within this time frame and we will gladly replace it, at no charge to our patients.  I believe your dental work should last and we stand behind this to the extent that we have control over the quality of the treatment delivered.  We cannot guarantee that you will floss and brush regularly or be kind to your teeth, but we will instruct you in how to do this and we will support and reinforce your efforts!


Our office would be happy to explain in as much detail as you would like what is going on in your mouth. Once you make an informed decision about your dental care we will strive to treat you as comfortably as possible!  Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Please visit us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc) or call us if you have any questions or concerns. You can also email our office at jmgdds@qwestoffice.net for further information.