DO I REALLY NEED A CROWN?
Many patients ask the question of whether they really need a crown and it is a good question to ask. It is important in caring for your teeth that you know what a crown is and why it is being recommended. As it is a primary goal of our practice to ensure our patients are educated on any dental treatment we recommend, we will take the time to fully explain this treatment and recommendation.
Here are some basic things to understand about crowns:
What is a crown?
A crown (also known as a dental cap) is a tooth-shaped “cap” placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength and appearance. It is usually made out of a very strong ceramic called zirconia.
Why do I need a crown?
There are different situations in which you may need a crown.
A crown is needed when a tooth has become so broken down that there is not enough of the tooth left to hold a filling. When a filling is too large, it can crack the tooth causing further damage. In other words, even if a filling is attempted it is likely the filling will break.
A crown can be needed when a tooth has a crack in it. If a tooth is cracked, it is a serious condition and does usually require a crown in order to protect the tooth from further damage.
A crown is often recommended after a root canal. Teeth that require root canals because they are badly decayed or broken have less tooth structure and therefore need a crown to protect them. This is especially true of your back teeth. Molars and premolars typically need a dental crown after a root canal. If you tend to grind your teeth you would more likely need a crown to prevent further loss of your original tooth. Canines and incisors (the front teeth that we use for tearing) may not need a dental crown.
What could happen if I wait to get a crown?
Your tooth could chip thereby requiring further repair, or it could even crack in which case it will require a crown anyway.
Your tooth could split which could require a crown or extraction.
Your tooth could suffer more damage and decay requiring a root canal or extraction.
There is another point to consider regarding whether or not you should get a crown. This is with regards to your bite – the relationship of the teeth in your lower jaw to those of the upper and how they come together. Your bite is very important to maintaining your oral health. If you have an unnatural bite due to a damaged tooth it can cause undue stress on your other teeth causing more damage as well as making it more difficult for you to chew your food. When a crown is made to cover your original tooth, a mold is taken of that area of your mouth so that the crown made fits your natural bite. So once the crown is put in you will be able to keep your natural bite and thereby have a better smile.
If you have any questions please ask. Our purpose is to keep your teeth and gums disease-free and we believe it is important to treat issues early when they are less serious.
Dr. Nahid Afshari, DDS