Dental crowns are essentially caps of different materials that are placed over a tooth to help restore its shape and size, and to improve overall function, strength, and appearance of a tooth. It is often used on severely damaged teeth with the hopes of saving it from further damage or even falling out. Dentists will typically recommend crowns if your teeth have extensive damage or decay, but can also be utilized in other situations.
The first situation where a crown may be useful is if you have either a tooth that has been cracked or is showing signs of excessive stress. This can be seen in patients who chew really hard foods like hard candies that can lead to teeth slowly being chipped away. Excessive cracks to a tooth can eventually cause it to become unstable, and requires a cap to hold the tooth together. Patients who also experience loss of enamel due to acidic foods may also require a cap to preserve the strength and integrity of their teeth.
The second most common situation where a dental crown is needed involves large fillings for cavities. Big fillings can promote tooth breakage, but can be prevented with the help of a crown that not only protects the tooth but also keeps the tissue under the tooth safe.
The third situation is when a patient has a root canal treatment. In this procedure, the tooth is hollowed out, making it susceptible to cracks. That’s why a crown is typically needed to prevent further injury or damage to that tooth.
Lastly, crowns can be used strictly for cosmetic purposes as well. Whether a patient has discolored or misshapen teeth, a crown can help bring back the beautiful look of a perfect smile.
Can a Tooth Rot Under a Crown?
Though crowns protect teeth from further damage, a tooth can absolutely rot under a crown if proper oral hygiene isn’t being taken care of. This means brushing teeth twice a day, regular flossing, rinsing your mouth after meals, and having adequate dental checkups are a necessity to ensure that teeth don’t rot.
Is It Better to Get a Crown or Pull the Tooth?
Tooth extraction is certainly a possibility, but it is typically used as a last resort especially if the tooth in question is near the front. Not only can an extraction lead to changes in the appearance of a smile, but can also affect the way patients chew foods. Crowns, therefore, are typically a better option in preserving teeth that are near the front, as it helps retain the same strength and power of a normal bite while maintaining a normal appearance.
In the end, you should speak with your dentist about what the best option is for your specific situation. Most times, dentists will recommend crowns. However, if a tooth is located towards the back of the mouth, an extraction may be more likely as it has very little effect on your overall ability to bite and chew.