“I don’t have any tooth pain. Why do I need a crown?” This question is frequently posed to dentists. Basically, the reasons for needing a dental crown are to protect teeth that have been weakened by decay, fracture, or a large, old filling that has failed. In some situations, decay has done so much damage that a dental filling won’t work, because there is not enough natural tooth left to fill. Crowns (also called “caps”) are also useful to restore misshapen, discolored or broken teeth.
Reasons for a Dental Crown
- Large fillings. Sometimes when a cavity is filled, the decay goes a little deeper than the dentist anticipated—an issue that occurs from time-to-time. Yet, teeth with deeper decay can’t just receive a filling because too much of the tooth’s natural structure was compromised. In other words, a filling will leave the tooth weak and susceptible to breaking. In those instances, your dentist simply places a crown on the tooth to help reinforce it.
- Root canals. Much like with a large filling, a root canal procedure weakens the tooth. Root canal therapy requires that dentist removes the dentin and pulp from a decayed tooth. Then, the doctor fills the tooth on the inside and finishes the procedure with the placement of a cap.
- Bridgework. For those with a missing tooth or two, the dentist may recommend a dental bridge, which serves as a tooth replacement method. These pieces come with pontics (or false teeth) and two anchoring crowns. After the two bordering, healthy teeth have been prepared, the doctor permanently bonds the crowns in place. This allows the pontics to rest in the area with missing teeth. The result is smile that’s regained its functionality.
- Broken cusps. Should you ever break a tooth, sometimes dentists use crowns to repair the damage. The doctor simply prepares the tooth until the break-point is reached and then attaches the crown to the tooth.
What dictates the need for a new dental crown?
Porcelain caps replace the exterior portion of a tooth, restoring its optimal function, and creating a natural appearance. There are a number of reasons you may need a porcelain cap:
- An existing crown will eventually reach the end of its functional life. On average, a crown lasts about 10 years. Many last longer.
- If a crown is broken or deteriorated, it should be replaced with a new one. However, a crown that has come off because of cement failure can often be replaced.
- Decay under an existing crown will require it to be removed and replaced with a new crown after the decay is addressed.
- Bruxism (teeth grinding) can cause fractures and cracks in the tooth enamel, usually leading to damage that requires a cap. With poorly-fitting crowns, your bite may not feel right, and you might notice soreness in that area. Eventually, you may develop TMJ.
- A faulty crown that is not replaced in time can cause significant wear on the opposing teeth.
What are the advantages of a porcelain crown?
Although crowns can be made of a range of materials, Dr. Fondriest prefers all-porcelain restorations. Advantages include:
- Porcelain looks and feels more like natural teeth than other materials used in caps.
- Porcelain is tougher and more durable than other materials. These crowns last for over a decade.
- Unlike other materials, porcelain is easy to maintain. There is no need for need for any special procedures.
- They cover the damaged parts of your teeth for better functions. Patients can smile more confidently, and eat whatever they want, without concern of tooth failure.
- Because porcelain crowns can be customized and molded, patients feel comfortable when wearing them. They don’t have to be concerned with the crowns affecting their eating or speech.
What should I expect when getting a porcelain cap placed?
A dental crown procedure generally includes these steps:
- A local anesthetic will be applied to the gums near your tooth.
- Your tooth will be re-shaped so the cap can fit snugly over it. To do this, any hollowed-out areas of the tooth with be filled with an appropriate material. The dentist will also reshape certain parts of your tooth.
- The dentist will make a mold (impression) of your tooth and the teeth around, to ensure the correct fit of your customized crown.
- He will place a temporary cap on your tooth until the permanent crown is ready.
- When your custom cap is ready, you will return to our office. We will remove the temporary, and place your porcelain crown, examining and testing it for proper fit and comfort.
You are then free to smile, speak, and eat with confidence.
Protect Fragile and Damaged Teeth
Caps are important because they serve to help protect fragile or even badly damaged teeth. This could mean a tooth impacted by a deep cavity or infection, or it could mean a tooth that has become chipped or cracked, perhaps while chewing on a piece of ice or other hard substance, or possibly due to trauma, such as a sporting accident or injury. Fortunately, modern dental crowns are a wonderful way to protect fragile or damaged teeth, while also helping to improve comfort. They do this by preventing exposure of the sensitive interior of the tooth to bacteria or food particles. That said, crowns are not only durable protection, but they can also be made to look natural.
Perhaps a natural-looking smile solution is the reason for a dental crown
For this reason, if you are in need of restorative treatment, a crown could be ideal. Caps are designed for durability, so that they can provide excellent protection against further decay or even infection, but they’re also made to look like natural teeth, allowing for confidence when smiling.
Does Your Smile Need Restorative Treatment?
Are there different types of porcelain materials?
There are several different types of porcelain. A dentist’s choice will depend on the strength, esthetics, the abrasiveness of the material against the opposing teeth, and the dentist’s skills. No specific porcelain material is the best choice for all situations. Most cosmetic dentists will choose the best material for the type of restoration required to produce the most beautiful result.
What do porcelain caps cost?
Costs vary with the time, and materials used, and they depend on the expertise of the dental office and ceramist (who actually fabricates the crown. Quality levels of porcelain crowns vary greatly. A better crown will look more natural, have a better bite, fit, and be more durable. With higher quality crowns, your gum tissue will be healthier and the restoration will be less likely to decay or leak. We suggest you research, and get several opinions. Find a dentist who has the appropriate training, regularly performs these procedures, and can provide before and after photos of actual patients.
Come learn if you have Reasons for a Dental Crown
Dr. Fondriest has his full-time private practice Lake Forest Dental Arts, with a primary focus on comprehensive esthetic restorative dentistry. He is also an internationally recognized speaker on topics of cosmetic dentistry, prosthodontics, and the latest advances in these disciplines. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Fondriest today for your assessment and more information about ceramic crowns.
Have you spent several months avoiding some of your all-time favorite foods and drinks, all because of dental sensitivity? Hot beverages, like coffee, and cold treats, like ice cream, can be particularly hard to enjoy when you are suffering from dental sensitivity, which is often brought about by undiagnosed dental problems. Fortunately, restorative dentistry makes it possible to rebound from many dental issues, with comfortable and often even confidence-inducing results. So, if you are struggling with a dental problem, it’s time to learn how a restoration like a dental crown could be the ideal solution for your smile! Schedule a restorative consultation with Dr. Fondriest by calling us at (847) 234-0517. We welcome patients from the North Shore area of Chicago.