Dental crowns are like an item of clothing that was custom made for you. A crown is manufactured to fit snugly over a prepared tooth before it's cemented into place. A good, tight fit is essential for the functionality of a crown, but sometimes a crown doesn't fit as tightly as it should. How would you even know if this applies to your dental crown?
A Tiny Gap
When there's a tiny gap between the dental crown and the tooth beneath it, a potential problem is created. This gap can result in a site where food debris and oral bacteria can accumulate, typically at the margin of the restoration, where the crown gives way to the tooth beneath it. You might find that no matter how diligently you clean your teeth, the base of the crown is still trapping debris.
An Invisible Danger
Although you might spot the accumulation of these debris, there's also an invisible danger. Even the smallest entry point allows oral bacteria to enter the gap between the tooth and its crown. This bacteria reacts to food and drink, creating acidic compounds that can corrode your teeth. When a crown doesn't fit as snugly as it needs to, a tooth can be exposed to further deterioration beneath the crown. This process is hidden beneath the crown, meaning it can be difficult to spot until it has advanced to the point where it causes secondary symptoms, such as toothache.
Have the Crown Professionally Assessed
If you should become suspicious about the amount of debris that regularly gathers at the base of a dental crown, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist. The crown will be assessed, and if there was an error with the fit of the restoration, it's likely to have happened during the final stages—when the crown was cemented to the tooth. The crown will be removed (gently prised off the tooth until the adhesive bond is broken). This allows your dentist to check that the underlying structure (your tooth) hasn't deteriorated. Assuming that no further work is required, the crown is then tightly cemented back into place, eliminating the problematic gap.
An ill-fitting dental crown isn't an emergency but still needs to be assessed. Leaving the crown in its current state places the underlying tooth in jeopardy, meaning that you might eventually need dental restoration work that's more intensive than a crown.