Dental crowns are among the most common restorative procedures that dentist perform. Since they have been around for a very long time, most people are familiar with what a crown does and how they are used to protect a damaged tooth. However, there is often some level of cost associated with dental crowns, even when insurance is paying a portion. This cost leads some of our patients to wonder if they do actually need to get crowns or if they can just get by with a filling.
We always recommend what is best for your teeth, whether that is dental crowns or a filling or even a dental implant. Thus, it is important that you understand why one may need a crown and what purpose the crown itself serves.
Dental crowns are commonly referred to as dental caps since they cover an entire area of the tooth or the entire tooth. Customized to specification in a laboratory, the dental crown performs a variety of functions that are very important. Two of these functions include preventing infection and support for damaged teeth. The dental crown works to prevent an infection by covering the teeth that have a great deal of decay. We are always working to prevent bacteria from spreading, which means it is often wiser to get a dental crown after removing the infection.
Upon placement, the dental crown immediately provides support for damaged teeth. The extra support helps to preserve the functionality of the teeth themselves. It also prevents further damage from occurring or from forcing the mouth to adapt to a damaged tooth, which can lead to misalignments or a bite that is not quite aligned.
Dental Crown or Dental Filling
The question then arises, when does a patient actually need a dental crown and when can they get by with just a filling? Ultimately the choice to get a crown belongs to the patient. We will give the patient the necessary information and advice to help them make an educated decision. Patients need to keep in mind that protecting their teeth, and keeping them in the best condition, is a better health choice all around. Crowns are necessary after a Root Canal Procedure to protect the integrity of the tooth. Root canal teeth become brittle and weak because the nerve is no longer viable and there is no blood supply to that tooth.
Dental Crown Uses
Here are a few circumstances that could occur where we will almost always recommend that you get a dental crown instead of waiting or proceeding with just a filling.
A broken tooth or chipped tooth
In this case, it is strongly advised to get a crown. Once a tooth is chipped, cracked, or broken it is important to get it fixed to ensure that an infection can’t set in. Since the tooth is already damaged, we want to minimize the risk and prevent further breakage.
A badly decayed tooth.
If a tooth is decayed to the point where it is affecting neighboring teeth, it is time to consider a cap that can prevent the spread of the bacteria to other areas of the mouth.
A large filling
In some cases, older fillings are too large and hence not secure. In this case, we would consider a dental crown, as a replacement to the filling that would look better and also provide more strength to the tooth itself.
For more information on dental crowns, we invite you to call us at (209) 690-1118 and schedule an appointment with our dental office.
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