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Margin Decay


Although crowns are a reliable tool for tooth restoration, the teeth are still susceptible to decay and damage over time. One type of decay that is indirectly caused by crowns is margin decay. Luckily, with early diagnosis and treatment, the teeth can be protected and your beautiful smile restored.

What is Margin Decay? 

Tooth decay is a breakdown of the tooth’s enamel caused by harmful bacteria that feed on sugars and carbohydrates left on the teeth. As the bacteria eat through the tooth material, a cavity forms. Cavities and tooth decay can form on any tooth as the result of improper brushing techniques, a sugary diet, and frequent snacking. Margin decay is a specific type of tooth decay that forms where the tooth meets the crown (the margin). A crown is a cap placed over the tooth to strengthen it after cavity removal or the repair of a cracked tooth. With early diagnosis and treatment, the crown and tooth can be restored to prevent further damage.

How Does Margin Decay Form? 

One of the most difficult places to access with a toothbrush is the margin between the crown and tooth. Food and bacteria can easily get stuck in this narrow area and without the right toothbrush, it is difficult to remove. It’s necessary to treat margin decay as soon as possible because it develops quickly, penetrating through the enamel into the deeper layers of the tooth. If bacteria reaches the soft pulp layer (dentin layer), containing the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels, there is the risk of a serious infection.

How is Margin Decay Treated? 

Margin decay can be diagnosed with a thorough dental examination at our office. During the exam, your dentist will assess the severity of the decay to develop an effective treatment plan. If the decay is newly developed and can be easily reached, your dentist will carefully remove the damaged tooth material and place a filling to support the tooth. More advanced margin decay may require a filling or crown replacement to re-seal and strengthen the tooth.

There are several options for crowns and fillings at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics. Your dentist will provide you with all your options and can help you determine the best choice for your specific needs, depending on the type of tooth being treated and the amount of damaged tooth material that is removed. 

Schedule an Appointment

If you suspect margin decay, we encourage you to schedule an appointment today at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics in Reno, NV. Our skilled dental team will provide a thorough assessment of your teeth and will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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