What a common question in the dentist office. Whether it is for a single crown or twenty to restore an entire mouth, patients like to know the specific reason they are being asked to spend that much money. The reason for the diagnosis for a crown has many answers, but in most situations they focus on supporting the tooth and making it stronger.

From previous post, I pointed out that teeth that have had a root canal are prime candidates for a crown. The tooth has been weakened and needs some additional support to function properly in your mouth. If we continue along that path of making a tooth stronger, it is easy to see why a tooth that has a large cavity or filling which is begining to break down or has decay needs a crown. Enamel is very hard, but the dentine under the enamel is not. Once decay starts to eat away at the dentine, the enamel becomes undermined and is weakened. It will begin to crack and break away from the tooth. A tooth has five parts or surfaces–top, or chewing part, cheek side and tongue side and a front and back. If three or more of those parts are broken down or missing the tooth is in bad shape.  A crown can replace those parts and with a core build up the dentine part of the tooth which has been eaten by decay or removed in the process of placing a filling is also replaced making the tooth strong once again.

Fillings do not last forever. They are good replacements for missing or damaged parts of a tooth, but with time they fail. Now it is true that with proper brushing and flossisng, you  can make a filling last years, if not decades. But when they begin to fail, decay can start around the edges where the tooth and filling meet. With time, the decay will penetrate into the tooth itself and create more problems–more tooth parts destroyed and possible damage to the nerve of the tooth, which might lead to needing a root canal. When a tooth with a large filling reaches that point, it is time to consider a crown. 

Sometimes, crowns are used to change the color or shape of a tooth. The tooth might be in decent condition, but the patient wants things  changed. A better color, a more natural shape or a new smile would require crowns to accomplish those goals.  A crown is versatile, it can be made to do many things in the mouth. Teeth that are worn from chewing or grinding would benefit from crowns.  Crowns can make teeth look longer and more youthful; they can make a mouth which has broken down and worn teeth, look better and more healthly as well as function properly. Crowns are placed on teeth which will support  a fixed bridge which allows the dentist to replace missing teeth like they were still part of the mouth.

Crowns can be made any color, or shape and from a variety of metals. Diamonds, rubbies and other precious stones can be placed in the crown.  Intials, and designs or other shapes can be incorporated into the crown. So, when a tooth is damaged or needs serious help, the crown is the best bet.