To restore teeth with very large cavities, fractures, or loss of healthy tooth structure.
- Badly decayed teeth
- Fractured or worn teeth
- Need to protect and strengthen teeth
- Need to improve esthetics
- Need to improve major bite problems
A crown (often called a cap) covers the tooth and restores it to an ideal shape and size. Decay is removed from the tooth and an impression is made of the prepared surface. This mold is sent to a dental laboratory, which will create a porcelain (tooth-colored) or gold crown. A tooth-colored temporary crown will be placed on the tooth for a few days while the crown is being made. At the second appointment, the temporary will be removed and the permanent crown placed.
Crowns are strong and functional due to the fact that they are created in a laboratory. This protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure. In the hands of a skilled dentist, a crown will fit almost perfectly onto the prepared surface of the tooth, reducing the size of the seam between the crown and the tooth. This helps keep decay from eventually occurring under the crown. Furthermore, well-made porcelain crowns are truly esthetic and are often difficult to distinguish from a real tooth.
Crowns should be placed before the tooth is excessively decayed or fractured. Doing so will allow more restorative options and possibly prevent the need for root canal therapy or extraction. If removal of a tooth is prevented, the expense of a bridge or implant to replace the tooth can be avoided.
Crowns are excellent restorations and have few disadvantages. They are highly durable and esthetic, but they may eventually need to be replaced due to normal wear.
Occasionally, a tooth may still need root canal therapy after being crowned. However, this indicates that the interior of the tooth was already sick (infected) and would have eventually needed root canal therapy anyway.
In the event that a tooth is so decayed or fractured that it needs to be removed rather than crowned, the best treatment options include a bridge or implant to replace the missing tooth.