When Do You Need a Crown?

Technically, crowns fall under the category of restorative dentistry. Dentists use these permanent restorations to protect weakened teeth and hopefully avoid the need for extraction. Sometimes called a cap, a crown covers the entire upper part of a tooth – everything above the gumline.

Crowns are among the most common dental restorations, but when are they necessary? We’ll cover all of the likely reasons you might need a crown below.

 

Decay

A cavity can usually be addressed with a simple filling. In fact, thousands of cavities are filled every day. However, if a tooth has suffered too many cavities over time – or very large or deep cavities – it may be time for a crown.

A crown will both reinforce your tooth and prevent further decay. Since the crown encircles all of your visible tooth, it protects against plaque and tartar. The crown will also cover unattractive silver fillings, giving your smile a healthy appearance.

 

Cracks and Chips

It is not uncommon for teeth to suffer small chips or cracks from an accident or other trauma. In many cases, your dentist can repair such damage using dental bonding. Bonding involves the application of a tooth-colored, cement-like material. This material hardens quickly and is often an excellent method of restoring a chipped tooth.

However, sometimes your tooth needs more reinforcement than bonding can provide. This is where a crown comes in. A dental crown will cover up chips, strengthen a tooth with minor cracks, and is sometimes an alternative to having the tooth extracted or pulled. Crowns are also more durable and longer-lasting than dental bonding.

 

After a Root Canal

Dentists use root canals to treat infected teeth. During the procedure, the dentist removes the living tissue inside the infected tooth, stopping the infection and ending the pain. After a root canal, the tooth is no longer technically alive since the blood vessels and nerves have been extracted.

At this point, the tooth needs protection, and a crown provides protection and stability. Also, a crown will give an attractive look to a tooth that has undergone a root canal. A crown is an important final step in the root canal process and is vital to ensuring you keep your natural tooth.

Modern crowns appear natural and are available in several materials. Consult with your dentist to decide which type of crown is right for your situation.