How Do You Know if a Crown Has to Be Redone...or Can Be Fixed?

I had a crown put in 5 years ago after a root canal. The tooth/crown has always had a bit of space below it. Now, it often has stuff in the crack...that is very smelly. I am so sick of having to clean it out. I complained at my last appointment about the tooth again and he said that the gums have receeded and to solve the problem he can fill the space in with a filling. I am so frustrated because I am thinking this is just a temporary fix. I paid a lot of money for a crown that seems bad.

Doctor Answers 7

Replace the crown

I do not recommend having a filling done because that is an easy solution. What i recommend is having a new crown done and of course check with a periodontist why your gums are receding, you have to take care of that problem as well.  Good Luck!

You need a second opinion from an honest ethical dentist to know if a crown has to be re-done.

A properly done crown should look and feel very much like a normal tooth. It should not trap food, have gaps or have bad smells. In my opinion, these are signs of an improperly done crown, however, I would have to look at it and take an x-ray to diagnose it. If you had this problem pretty much since the time the crown was put in, you should have brought it up then and if your dentist did not want to fix it then sought a second opinion. After 5 years it will hard to tell if the problems were there form the begining or have developed over time.

Having said that, even the best crown will eventually need to be replaced due to wear and tear but it may last 7-10 years or much longer depending on the abuse or care you do to it.

Putting a filling is patchwork and sometimes it may be OK, but if I were you I would seek a second opinion. Ask your physician or another dental specialist like a periodontist, oral surgeon, or orthodintist if they recomend someone to evaluate your crown.

Good luck

Dr. T 

Mauricio C. Tijerino, DMD
Miami Beach Dentist

Replacing a crown

Sounds like a replacement will look and feel better for you.  Most insurances allow a new crown every 5 years.  A filling costs less but is only temporary here.  The crown should last longer in most cases but the gums appear to be part of the problem too.  Discuss this well before a new crown is made.

Scott LeSueur, DDS
Mesa Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Fix or Remake a Crown

Only a qualified, honest dentist can answer this question for you aftere looking in your mouth and at your X-rays. Sounds to me like you don't trust your dentist. That's BAD!

Jay Neuhaus, DDS
New York Dentist

Should I replace a crown if recession or bad odor

Placing a filling is a temporary fix and you may be hiding and masking problems such as decay under the crown. If food gets impacted, so does bacteria and since your tooth is root canalled you have no sensation to warn you about any issues.

insurance companies pay for replacements in five years. and this should tell you that 5 years is basically average for a crown to last.



Soheyla Marzvaan, DDS
Orange County Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Crowns cannot be fixed

Any patches or repairs really are just temporary fixes.  If there is decay or other reasons to address a crown, a new one should be made.


This one lasted for 5 years, so while you paid a lot 5 years ago, there very likely will not be a price break for a new one.  Even insurance companies will pay for a crown every 5 years.


One should remember that nothing in dentistry lasts forever.  Some things last longer than others, but one should not expect ANYTHING to last the rest of your life.

Lance Timmerman, DMD, MAGD
Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Get it looked at soon

If you are getting an odor, there is a chance that the tooth may have decay. The problem with teeth that have had root canals is, that even if you do get decay, there is no nerve in the tooth so you will not feel any pain. Either way, having a space and getting food impaction will affect the longevity of the tooth so please have it looked at.

Aria Irvani, DDS
Irvine Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.