When your dental care requires a crown, the reasons will usually fall within one of the following basic categories:
- Replace a missing tooth
- To restore a tooth to its original shape
- To strengthen a tooth
- To improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth
- To protect a tooth following root canal treatment
Crowns and bridges (which are composed of crowns), are very reliable solutions for major dental problems caused by accidents, diseases or wear. Small defects in a tooth can be restored with a filling, but extensive damage requires the durability and reliability that crowns offer.
Often, the concern with dental treatment is not in understanding how the procedure is performed, but when to choose between different options. Following are some guidelines to help you.
For cosmetic results: Crowning teeth only to improve their appearance is actually a poor choice. Dental crowns are best utilized as a way to restore teeth that are no longer strong enough to protect the root. This is the case with teeth that are cracked, have excessive wear, or a large area has been destroyed by decay. For cosmetic treatment, we recommend the most conservative approach in order to preserve the natural tooth. Alternative dental options like veneers, bonding or teeth whitening can often achieve the desired results.
For health & longevity: The loss of even one tooth can impact the function of your bite and change your appearance. Adjacent teeth can shift position or become more vulnerable to chips and cracking when a gap is present. Crowns are ideal treatment to hold space in your bite either individually (implant/crown) or as a bridge.
Unresolved pain: Many people have unexplained pain in back teeth. This can be due to hairline cracks in the chewing part of the tooth. Crowns can offer relief from pain and allow return of full dental function in many cases.
Why do I need a crown following a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment usually involves the removal of the tooth’s pulp, a small thread-like tissue that was important for tooth development. The pulp is the soft tissue that contains the blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue of a tooth. It lies in a canal that runs through the center of the dentin- the hard tissue on the inside of the tooth that supports the outer layer of tooth enamel. The crown is the portion of the tooth visible above the gums.
Once blood supply no longer reaches the dentin, the outer layers of the tooth become brittle. This change in the tooth occurs at a rate that is different for everyone. Replacing the tooth’s crown strengthens the tooth and protects the root.