Why does my tooth need a crown?

Oct 17, 2021

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth covering the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance.

There are a number of reasons to place a crown on a tooth.  For instance:

  • The tooth may have been weakened by having a very large filling.If a tooth has been filled many times or has a large part of it replaced with a filling, then a crown might be a better option. The reason for this is that the tooth becomes weaker as more fillings replace its original structure. Soon, it will not be strong enough to withstand normal biting and chewing forces. This may cause the filling, tooth or both to crack or break completely. Without treatment, the tooth could further break or crack and result in losing the tooth.
  • You may have discoloured teeth or fillings and would like to improve the appearance of the tooth. It might be difficult masking the underlying tooth discoloration with fillings, especially when the tooth’s preparation is minimal. A crown might be able to mask the underlying tooth discoloration, sometimes even in thin sections.
  • You may have had a root filling which will need a crown to protect it. Generally, the tooth will be saved after a root canal; however, it is better to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth. Studies reveal that a dental crown following a root canal improves the chance of tooth survival. After the pulp (the inner contents within the tooth) of the tooth has been removed, the tooth can become very dry and brittle. Having a permanent restoration will help protect your tooth from fracturing.
  • Treating cracked teeth. The micro-movement of tooth function can contribute to crack propagation over the long term. Minimizing the amount of tooth flexure is the goal with bite adjustment and cuspal protection with a crown.
  • You may have had an accident and damaged the tooth. A filling may help to replace the missing tooth structure. However, depending on the location and the extent of fracture, a crown might be required.
  • It may help hold a bridge or fixed denture firmly in place. A fixed bridge replaces one or more missing teeth. They consist of a false tooth/teeth and abutment teeth that support/anchor the dental bridge.

Crowns cost about 3-5 times as much as fillings, because they require more time to prepare, have to be sent over to a laboratory and take more effort to make. However, they give the patient a stronger, longer lasting, more permanent, and more cosmetic restoration. A crown uses the considerable skill of the dentist and technician, and in this way, it’s similar to ordering a piece of hand-made jewellery. The materials are also expensive so it’s fair to say a crown will not be the cheapest treatment you have ever had. If need be, our team could help you with interest free payment plan options.