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Restoration to crowned tooth with decay



Well-known member
Jul 8, 2021
I have an upper molar with a porcelain-to-metal crown on it. The crown is 23 years old. Decay was first noticed in 2017. With the metal crown, they can't see the full extent of it. My dentist told me in 2017 that he would just try to do a filling and if, after he got started, if it was extensive, then he would remove the crown. I was afraid to proceed. I accompanied my elderly father later that year to the dental college. He was having his remaining teeth removed and getting dentures. I made conversation with the dental student who was very close to graduation. I asked her about filling teeth with crowns on them. She said she wouldn't do it and the only proper way to get all the decay is to remove the crown and start over. Years have passed. I never got the tooth fixed. My dentist retired. I am now looking for another dentist and have met with three in the last year to see where to go. Two have said they would just fill it and remove the crown if they find the decay to be more extensive. One has agreed with the dental student. Which is the better course? Is it really possible that it could just be filled without removing the crown and still get all the decay?
It's impossible to say for sure without at least seeing the problem. Having said that, neither approach is "wrong" filling and repairing is slightly more conservative, also removing the crown is not without some risk of damage to the tooth, but against that, totally removing the crown would give better access to the decay so should allow better caries removal.
Thank you for answering, Gordon.