A crown or cap has multiple indications. A crown is recommended when fifty percent or more of a tooth is decayed or missing. Frequently in this situation a “core build-up” may also be indicated to rebuild the base of the tooth providing a solid foundation for the crown. A crown fits over the tooth holding the tooth together, restoring the original shape, function and appearance of the tooth.
Crowns are also recommended for teeth that are cracked or broken helping patients avoid the need for root canals. One of the most common dental problems faced by patients over the age of thirty-five is broken teeth. It is not uncommon to find fractures in virtually healthy appearing teeth with no fillings. More common are cracked or broken teeth that have large fillings. While some cracks in the enamel surface of our teeth may be very superficial many times they extend much deeper than they appear. Often the tooth may not be sensitive and patients may not understand the need for crowning a tooth that doesn’t hurt. The problem is that the enamel on our teeth is almost identical to glass. When a tooth begins to crack it will act much like a crack in a car windshield. In time the crack will begin to grow or spread. If a patient waits until the tooth begins to ache they are much more likely to need a root canal in addition to a crown. This procrastination can be very costly more than doubling the expense of saving the tooth. Delaying treatment also greatly increases the risk of losing the tooth all together.
Another recommendation for crowning a tooth is following root canal therapy. When a root canal is performed on a tooth the nerve and blood supply is removed from the roots and crown of the tooth. This causes the tooth to become dehydrated and brittle leaving the tooth very susceptible to breaking. Crowning the tooth is done to prevent the tooth from breaking off and having to be extracted after a root canal has been performed. Having a root canal without a crown can be very wasteful if the tooth breaks and has to be extracted. The expense of the root canal is wasted. The tooth usually has to be surgically extracted. Any appliance used to replace the tooth will likely be much more expensive than the cost of a single crown. Therefore a crown can be a very cost effective method of restoring teeth.
Crowns are also indicated in rebuilding a patient’s bite. Many patients grind their teeth to the point that their bite collapses causing very significant dental problems such as TMJ syndrome. Crowns can be used to restore the patient’s bite allowing them to avoid these problems.
Crowns can be used to reshape teeth as a fast and cost effective means of avoiding orthodontic treatment. Crowns offer beautiful results in a matter of a few weeks as opposed to months or even years of orthodontic treatment.