Dental crowns can be a costly procedure, so understanding why they are an essential part of comprehensive dental care helps patients understand if they truly need a crown or not.
A dentist’s primary goal is to help restore natural teeth so they can maintain their normal function. Losing or extracting teeth due to dental disease or decay is always the last option, because nothing can truly function as well as your own natural teeth. If decay destroys too much of a tooth’s structure, there comes a point where placing a filling in the tooth is just not functionally possible. Too little enamel supporting a large filling will only place the tooth at risk for extreme fracture during normal use.
Instead, placing a crown on a tooth allows the existing tooth enamel to be protected over the entire chewing surface. This distributes the pressure during chewing or biting and allows the weaker underlying tooth to withstand normal use. Dental crowns are made of porcelain material or gold, depending on the location of the tooth and the patient’s personal preferences. A crown can last for several years, extending the life of the underlying tooth and preventing more invasive or severe treatment like root canal therapy, extractions or tooth replacement. If teeth are left untreated, a root canal may be needed in conjunction with the crown due to the advancement of decay.
Crowns are also placed over teeth that have been treated with root canal therapy. Because these teeth are no longer vital, the crown preserves the weaker, more brittle tooth enamel and protects the inside layers of the tooth that have been exposed during the root canal.
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