So, Exactly Why Do I Need that Crown? Thursday, Jun 16 2011 

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.

After the Root Canal Wednesday, May 25 2011 

So, you survived the root canal. It was not that bad and you almost fell asleep twice during the procedure. The rubber dam was a bit inconvenient, but it did keep the chemicals out of your mouth, and they do taste bad. The tooth feels great and you can even chew on it.  What next?

If the tooth had a large filling, or a great deal of decay, it will need a crown and possibly a buildup or post and core. What are those things? The buildup and post and core add strength to the tooth and help support the crown. One of the big problems after a root canal is the tooth breaks or fractures. This happens a great number of times. You feel good, the tooth is happy and you do not want another visit to the dentist. But that is exactly what you do need. Without support and internal strengthening, the tooth is going to break or fracture. It is very sad to see someone who has spent a lot of money on saving their tooth, only to have it break and have to be told that it cannot be saved. It could break in  a month or a year or two later, but at some point, there will be problems. Get it fixed, or at the very least have the buildup completed before something happens that will cause you even greater problems.

A tooth that already had a crown can be treated differently. If there was not a tremendous amount of  decay, or the crown was recently placed, a filling or post and core can be put in the tooth and this will solve the problem. If the crown was old and there was a huge amount decay, it might need a new crown in addition to the buildup. A tooth that is part of a bridge can be saved in this manner also, However, if the decay is severe or the tooth does not look good, a new bridge might be in order.

Get the tooth fixed properly and you will not regret spending the money for the root canal and other work. The tooth will hold up and give you years of service. Brush and floss and treat it like your other teeth with TLC and you will be very happy and so will the tooth.

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