Among restorative procedures, dental crowns are by far the most commonly performed by dentists everywhere. Most people understand what a dental crown does, and usually we have discussed it at some length before a patient decides to schedule the procedure. Historically people have a lot of questions about any procedure that is going to involve their teeth, and dental crowns are no exception. Since there is a cost involved, even when the insurance companies are paying some of it, people want to know that the procedure is necessary before committing the time and money to having it done.
From our perspective, we prefer to ensure that the teeth themselves are well taken care of and to do whatever procedures are necessary to have strong, healthy patients. If this means we can do a filling, in lieu of a crown, and it would be sufficient, then that is what we will recommend. However, we do find that if the tooth requires a crown, typically there are not many alternatives that provide the same level of effectiveness.
Dental crowns are also commonly referred to as dental caps. This is based on the idea the dental crown “caps” or covers the entire tooth, providing a degree of protection while strengthening and supporting the tooth. To ensure that the crowns are a perfect fit, they are custom fabricated in a laboratory based on the measurements taken at our office. This allows the crown to fit perfectly over your tooth and give it the support it needs. Once installed, a dental crown performs two vital functions.
1. It strengthens and supports the tooth itself. When a tooth is damaged, your mouth will often overcompensate for that tooth, leading to an uneven bite and misaligned teeth. When the crown is placed, the mouth can rely on this tooth for functionality and hence does not have to make adjustments.
2. Damaged teeth, especially those that have been damaged due to decay have a tendency to attract more bacteria. This bacteria also spreads around and could infect other teeth as well. A cap puts a stop to the decay and limits the amount of bacteria that can spread. This is beneficial to the tooth, and to the mouth as a whole.
When do we recommend that you get a dental crown?
If you have a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth, we may recommend that you get a dental crown. A crack in the tooth or a chip can quickly spread which will cause immense amounts of discomfort. Any damage to the tooth leaves it susceptible to infection, which is something we want to avoid and the crown is the best way to accomplish this. If you have a filling that is extremely large and has outgrown the recommended filling size, we will recommend a crown. Dental crowns are more durable than fillings, lasting longer and providing better support. There are many reasons why they may be recommended, which is why we will discuss your particular and individual situation with you first.