How Dental Crowns Can Help Your Teeth
Dental crowns are used in many situations, including when your tooth is damaged and needs significant support and/or protection.
Some of the common situations that call for dental crowns include:
- Tooth decay
- Tooth cracking
- Tooth wear
- Small teeth
- Dental bridge placement
- Dental implant placement
A dental crown isn’t always the right choice in these situations. Your dentist will evaluate your tooth or teeth to determine when it’s right to use a dental crown and when a different form of restoration treatment would serve you better.
Decayed Tooth Repair
The most common treatment for tooth decay–commonly called a dental cavity–is a filling. In some situations, however, a dental crown is the right choice for tooth decay. A dental crown is best when tooth decay has significantly weakened a tooth. This is often the result of secondary decay around an old dental filling, especially a large metal amalgam filling.
A dental crown is frequently used to repair a tooth after root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is necessary when the internal, living part of the tooth is exposed to oral bacteria that can infect or has already infected it.
Cracked Tooth Repair
A minor chipped tooth is a cosmetic problem and can benefit from cosmetic solutions like a porcelain veneer or dental bonding. A cracked tooth, on the other hand, has structural damage and needs support to prevent the crack from worsening. A dental crown provides just that support. In some cases, a crack might compromise the living part of the tooth. If that is the case, your dentist will recommend root canal therapy before placing the dental crown.
Building Up Worn or Small Teeth
If your teeth have worn down, you may want to build them back up to restore the appearance and function of your smile. This is common in full mouth reconstruction. Sometimes, porcelain veneers are ideal when the tooth doesn’t experience strong bite forces or in cases where your concern is not to build up your teeth. However, a dental crown is a better choice if a tooth needs to be built up significantly or is under intense stress.
The same is true for building up small teeth like retained baby teeth.
Dental Bridge Placement
A dental crown can help replace a missing tooth as part of a dental bridge. Your natural teeth support traditional dental bridges and typically include two dental crowns on either side of a replacement tooth known as a pontic. The pontic itself has no root, replacing only the tooth’s visible part. The dental crowns fit over your natural teeth, supporting the pontic and allowing you to bite and chew normally.
Dental Implant Placement
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root. To fully replace your tooth, it needs a part that will serve as the visible tooth you use for smiling and chewing. For a single dental implant, that part is a dental crown.