My dentist says I need a Crown....What does that mean???????

Everyday in my practice I have to make the decision whether or not it is time for a tooth to receive a crown instead of just a large filling.  I have, on more than one occasion, ran into hesitant patients, who don't want to invest in a crown.  Let me explain what exactly what a crown is and answer some common questions.

1.  Can I just have a cap instead?
 - You may hear the word "cap" used by your friends/family or even by your dentist.  What is the difference?  Absolutely nothing.  "Cap" is used to try to describe what a crown is.  When we place a crown on a tooth, it completely covers the coronal portion (top part) of the tooth, therefore we say think of it like a baseball cap covering your head.

2.  Why can't I just put a large filling in, it's much cheaper?
-Fillings are a great way to restore a tooth when the amount of tooth structure lost is small.  After a large portion of tooth structure is missing or if a chewing cusp is lost, fillings become too weak and will break on function.  A crown is used instead to help hold everything together and prevent future tooth cracking/breaking.

3.  Do I have to have a root canal to have a crown done?
-No!!!.  While most teeth that have had root canals performed, do need crowns.... not all teeth that needs crowns, need root canals.  Root canals are used to treat pain/infection and nerve conditions inside of the teeth.  If the tooth is just broken and does not have any pain/infection or nerve problems, you may be able to solve the problem with a crown alone.  Your dentist will evaluate the nerve and make a proper treatment plan based off the findings

4.  Will it still look like a tooth?
-Yes.  While there are many different types of materials (white and gold colored), crowns are made to mimic the natural tooth anatomy.

Now that I have covered some common questions I get asked in office, let me show you what is involved.

First any soft decay is removed from the tooth.  We then carefully prepare the tooth by reducing it in all dimensions to support the crown.  After the tooth is prepared, an impression is made and a crown is fabricated.  We use special dental cements to glue the crown to your tooth and bring it back to normal appearance and function.    The teeth above demonstrate from left to right 1. A broken tooth, 2 A prepared tooth with a cap being placed. 3. A cemented crown

If you have a broken tooth or have been told that you need a crown, feel free to contact Dr. Joshua Grooms at ABC Family Dentistry.  423-639-2176


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