Your dentist may decide a crown is the preferred treatment if there is a high likelihood of the tooth fracturing or crumbling. The root, gums and surrounding teeth need to be healthy before a crown can be placed.
Structural issues include a lot of tooth structure missing or the tooth has a crack. Not all cracked teeth are suitable for crowning but sometimes a crown will hold a tooth together by covering it with a strong “cap”.
During endodontic (root canal) treatment, access to the pulp (nerve) and root canals is made through the centre of the tooth. This can remove quite a lot of tooth material and makes the tooth more vulnerable to cracking. Also, because the pulp of the tooth (supplies blood to the tooth) is removed, teeth become more brittle and susceptible to breaking.
Other reasons for crowns includes badly worn teeth or teeth with a large amount of filling. Every tooth restoration removes natural tooth so if a restoration is very large or has been added to many times, there can be more restoration than tooth! The remaining tooth loses much of its strength and sometimes the weakened parts of the tooth break off.
Lastly, if you have had an implant, you’ll likely need a crown to restore the functionality.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms I Might Need a Crown?
- A badly broken or decayed tooth
- A large restoration which is compromising the structural integrity of your tooth
- A restoration in a vulnerable tooth position that might be prone to breaking, cracking or failing because of the amount of pressure that is exerted on that part of the tooth
- Heightened sensitivity to hot, cold, or pressure
- A crack that is likely to spread unless support is placed over the crack
- Just completed a root treatment
- A tooth that is discoloured after trauma
- A tooth that never formed properly and is much smaller that your other teeth or misshapen
- You have an implant that needs a crown to cover it
If your tooth still has plenty of structure, it may be suitable to use another sort of filling material or cosmetic treatment instead.
Your dentist will probably decide a crown is not suitable when:
- there is not enough tooth structure left to make a crown.
- your tooth is too badly decayed or broken and the part that’s left won’t support a crown
- the part of the tooth that has broken off extends too far under the gum and a crown can not be placed
- you have gum disease which has compromised the ligaments that hold your teeth in its socket
- your tooth needs root treating first because of pain and inflammation inside your tooth
- there is a vertical crack which has split the tooth from the top down the root (This tooth is now vulnerable to infection and not structurally sound)
In some of the above cases, we would likely recommend dental implants, once your gum is in healthy condition. For others, we treat the primary issue first and if successful then fit a crown.
See more dental crown alternatives.
- Crowns give strength to vulnerable teeth
- There are various types to fit your budget
- Crowns help maintain tooth space so surrounding teeth don’t drift
- Crowns can be a base for a bridge
- They are just like a real tooth in looks and function
- The’re more expensive than an ordinary restoration
- Depending on the type, they can chip or crack just like a real tooth would
- Crowns will not change colour if you whiten your teeth after the crown has been placed