|A crown fits over the entire top of the tooth above the gum line.
Crowns cover, protect, seal and strengthen a tooth. A crown
is needed when a filling just will not
work. A crown may be made of gold, white porcelain, or porcelain fused
to gold. There are many situations that may call for a crown:
|Large decay. If a tooth has decay
so deep and large that a filling will not
stay, or if the tooth structure is weakened, a crown must be placed
on the tooth to save it.
|Large old fillings. When large
old fillings break down, or get decay around
them, they usually need to be crowned. It is important to crown a
tooth that has been structurally weakened to prevent a cracked or
broken tooth. Once a tooth breaks, it may not be possible to save
|Cracked tooth. When a tooth is
cracked, a filling will not seal the crack.
A crown has to be placed over the tooth to hold it and the crack together.
If a crown is not placed on the tooth, the tooth will become sensitive
to chewing pressure, or will eventually break. It is important to
crown a cracked tooth before it breaks, because in some cases
a broken tooth cannot be crowned and must be extracted.
Broken / Fractured tooth. A tooth
that has broken is usually too weak to hold a filling.
A crown will hold the tooth together and prevent it from breaking again.
If the fracture involves the nerve, Root Canal
Therapy may be required before the tooth is crowned. In some cases,
a broken tooth cannot be saved and must be extracted.
|This patient chose not to have the cracked tooth above crowned,
and it later fractured. This tooth had to be extracted because it
cracked all the way to the root.
Sensitive teeth. Teeth that are
very sensitive, either from a lot of "wear", or from receded
gums, sometimes require crowns to seal and protect the teeth from hot
and cold sensitivity.
Root Canal Therapy. A tooth that has
undergone Root Canal Therapy will need a crown to properly seal and protect
the tooth. A tooth with Root Canal Therapy is more brittle than a tooth
with a healthy nerve and blood supply. A crown provides the necessary
support to the tooth.
In cosmetic dentistry, crowns (sometimes
called "caps") are used less frequently since the advent
of veneers, but in some cases a crown may be
necessary for a particular tooth. A tooth with a bad fracture
or a large filling may be a candidate for a
crown instead of a veneer.
|Before: This tooth has a large filling as shown. A crown
is needed on this tooth, instead of a veneer, because there isn't
enough natural tooth left to support a veneer. A crown will cover
and protect the tooth, but will look the same as a veneer.
|After: The top teeth now have veneers, except the one that
had the large filling, which now has a crown.
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Dental WebSmith, Inc.
and Elliot Ledner, DDS, Janet Zaiff, DDS, PC. All rights reserved worldwide.
Disclaimer: The information provided within
is intended to help you better understand dental conditions and procedures.
It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical or dental care. If you have
specific questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.