CROWNS

A tooth-shaped “cap” that’s placed over a weak or damaged tooth

A crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that's placed over a weak or damaged tooth to improve its shape, size, strength, or appearance.

Most crowns last five to 15 years and can be made of metal, porcelain fused to metal, resin, or ceramic. Before a crown is seated, the existing tooth is filed down; then the crown is cemented over it, fully encasing the tooth. Onlays and three-quarter crowns cover the underlying tooth to a lesser extent.

Why do I need crowns?

A dental crown replaces the enamel covering of a tooth, a general answer to this question is that a tooth needs a dental crown when the enamel no longer performs its function. Enamel is susceptible to cracking, acid erosion, and cavities. All of these can lead to the need for a crown. The following are the most common reasons that a tooth may need coverage with a dental crown.
Tooth decay

Large Cavities

Cavities are bacterial infections of the enamel and other hard substances that make up each tooth. Bacteria eat sugar and produce acid, which can dissolve enamel and allow the bacteria to penetrate a tooth. As a cavity grows, it weakens and undermines the enamel so that it can no longer support healthy chewing function.

Filling

Large Fillings

The presence of an existing large filling may necessitate a dental crown on a tooth. While a filling is a wonderful restoration to replace tooth structure lost from decay, it does not add strength to a tooth. It simply fills in the hole. When a filling is large and makes up more than half of the exposed tooth, a crown may be necessary to prevent further damage.

Dental pain

Severe Acid Erosion

Patients who suffer from severe acid reflux or GERD, or those with acidic habits (like drinking sodas daily), often lose significant amounts of enamel through erosion. Rebuilding these teeth and replacing the lost enamel is necessary to prevent more damage and even eventual loss of the tooth itself.

Cracked teeth

Cracked Teeth

While cracks are more likely to develop on teeth that have large fillings, they can occur in otherwise healthy teeth as well. They may also result from an injury, such as biting into a hard, foreign object. When a tooth cracks, the interruption in enamel allows both temperature sensations and bacteria to penetrate the tooth. A crack often leads to cavities and sensitivity to cold and/or chewing forces.

Root canal

Root Canal Treatment

A tooth that undergoes a root canal treatment usually needs full coverage with a dental crown. This is because root canal treatments remove the nerves and blood supply from the hollow chamber inside a tooth. Without a blood supply, teeth become brittle and very easy to break. Because they also have no nerve within, teeth with root canal treatments will not experience the symptoms of a cracked tooth, so patients often miss the warning signs of a problem. A crown covering the tooth is necessary to prevent its breakage after a root canal treatment.