Dental restorations can range from relatively small fillings to extensive work that requires restructuring of the tooth, root canal treatment, or dental crowns. If a tooth has been severely damaged, a crown might be necessary to keep it intact and prevent eventual removal.
Types of Tooth Restorations
Your dentist must perform a tooth restoration if your tooth has been damaged or has experienced decay. Small to medium cavities can be restored with fillings, in which the decayed portion of the tooth is removed and replaced with dental amalgam or with a tooth-colored resin. However, if the cavity is extremely large, or if you experience additional decay in a tooth that has already been filled, a crown might be necessary.
Very severe cavities, cracks in the teeth, or broken-off teeth might require a root canal treatment. This procedure is necessary if the tooth’s interior becomes infected. A dentist or endodontist removes the infected tissue from inside the tooth, then fills it and fits the tooth with a dental crown.
Common Uses of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns were once used routinely for cosmetic purposes, but now your dentist is more likely to recommend dental veneers for purely aesthetic treatment. Crowns are more invasive than veneers, and so are usually reserved for restorations. In order to place a crown, the underlying tooth must be reshaped to fit inside it, which usually involves removing a substantial amount of the enamel and dentin. The crown is custom-made to fit your tooth and to complement your bite, and is permanently fixed in place with special cement.
In general, your dentist will recommend dental crowns if:
- Your tooth is cracked
- Your tooth has broken off
- Your tooth has been treated with root canal therapy
- Your tooth is severely decayed
- You are suffering from decay in a tooth that has already been filled
Dental crowns can be constructed of metal, tooth-colored resins, porcelain, or metal bound with porcelain. Talk to your dentist about what type of crown is best for your particular restoration.