When do you need a dental crown? It’s a reasonable question.
This article will discuss if and why dental crowns are really necessary for restoring certain teeth.
When we recommend a dental crown to patients, they often respond by asking if this treatment is really necessary. A single dental crown can cost anywhere between $1000 and $2000 due to its crafting, complex nature, and fitting. Moreover, only certain mid to top tier private extras insurance policies that cover Major Dental include dental crowns. So, we do understand a patient’s reluctance and why they ask more questions.
Now don’t get us wrong. Asking questions is a good thing.
Patients should understand the value of any proposed treatment before committing to it.
So, we’re taking this opportunity to provide more information about dental crowns, what they are, what they do, and what’s involved in the dental crown procedure. So without further ado, let’s get started.
What is a dental crown, and what does it do?
Dental crowns are often referred to as ‘caps’, although we prefer to think of them as protective shields for weak teeth. A crown covers the entire visible part of a tooth that sits above the gum line. In doing so, it reinforces the tooth, drastically lowering the chance of fracture.
When do you need a dental crown?
Dental crowns restore the shape, size and appearance of a damaged or weakened tooth. Here are a few situations where a tooth is compromised and would benefit from a crown.
- A heavily filled tooth – This tooth has one or two large fillings or multiple fillings. Because practically every surface has been filled, the risk of it fracturing is increased.
- A root canal–treated tooth – becomes more brittle and prone to fracture following root canal treatment. Placing a crown over it greatly reduces the chance of fracture.
- A cracked tooth – Patients that regularly grind their teeth are more at risk of developing cracks. Should these cracks produce symptoms such as sharp pain when eating, it’s common for a dentist to recommend root canal treatment and a dental crown.
Obstacles to accepting dental crown treatment
Patients are more likely to agree to treatment when we can identify an active dental problem such as a tooth cavity. However, dental crowns are different.
On occasions, patients will ask what exactly is wrong with their tooth. The thing is, dentists rarely suggest dental crowns as a solution to an active problem. Instead, a dental crown’s purpose is to cover or mask a problem, thus protecting the tooth in the long term. In other words, it’s a way of managing risk. It strengthens a tooth that is at risk of fracturing, although that may never happen.
Hopefully, this explanation goes some way to answering the question ‘when do you need a dental crown.’
So, what is the dental crown procedure?
It typically requires two dental visits to get a dental crown, with a few weeks between the appointments.
The dental crown procedure involves the following steps:
- The dentist takes x-rays of the tooth to see if it requires root canal treatment. The tooth receiving the crown is then prepared.
- To prepare the tooth, the dentist grinds down the top and sides. If it is badly decayed, the tooth may need to build up with filling material so the crown has sufficient structure to cover.
- An impression is taken of the prepared tooth and the surrounding teeth, and you will be fitted with a temporary crown.
- The impression is sent to the dental lab who will make the permanent crown.
- When the crown is received at the dental clinic several weeks later, you will be asked back for a second appointment to fit the crown.
Some dental clinics now provide dental crowns completed in a single visit, eliminating the need for dental moulds and temporary crowns. This is known as a CEREC procedure.
In this instance, the dental crown procedure goes as follows:
- Digital images are taken of your teeth
- These images are sent to an on-site computer that designs the perfect crown for you and sends the data to a milling machine.
- The machine mills the crown while the patient waits, and the dentist cements it securely in place the same day – No need for temporary crowns or multiple visits.
While we’ve answered the question of when do you need a dental crown, there are other circumstances that patients might want a dental crown.
Dental crowns are often used in cosmetic dentistry to enhance the smile and may conceal a discoloured tooth or improve the shape and size of a misshapen tooth.
Do you need a dental crown?
If you suspect you need a dental crown or want to improve the appearance of one or more of your teeth as part of a smile makeover, why not schedule a consultation with us? Call us on (02) 9158 6312 today.
Finder.Com – Tooth Crown Costs and Insurances
RealSelf.com – How Many Visits To Get A Dental Crown?
Healthline – What You Need To Know About CEREC Crowns
Fresh Dental – Can Crowns Improve The natural Appearance Of Teeth