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Can crowns and fillings get new cavities?

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New cavities can form around fillings and crowns. In fact, teeth that have been previously repaired are actually more likely to get a cavity.

So why does this happen? Is it because there was a problem with the restoration?

If the restoration is not fully sealed to the tooth, it can increase the risk of a new cavity. Over time, fillings can start to wear down, chip, and crack allowing bacteria and debris to enter the tooth and begin to cause a new cavity. Similarly, tooth-colored fillings are bonded, which is what causes them to adhere to the tooth surface. With time, that bond can begin to weaken, breaking the seal, and allowing bacteria in.

Crowns, on the other hand, are sealed to the tooth with cement. With time, that cement layer can start to break down increasing the risk of getting a new cavity.

Sometimes, teeth with fully functional crowns and fillings still get cavities. Think about it this way; the original cavity formed on the tooth surface before a restoration was ever done, and there is still tooth surface exposed under the margin (which is the area where the filling or crown is sealed to the tooth). So, while the restoration is doing its job protecting a portion of the tooth, the surrounding tooth surface can still get a cavity.

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