If you’ve been asking the question: “do I really need a crown?”, you have probably talked to a few friends, a couple of dentists, researched online, and are left with as many questions as when you started, maybe even more. So let’s take a look at a few things which should give you more clarity on the steps to understand whether you need a crown or not.
Reasons why you would need a crown
There are many reasons why you could need a crown, here are the three main reasons:
- A crown can help make a weak tooth stronger in the event the original tooth was fractured or highly decayed.
- A crown can also be used for aesthetics reason. You or your dentist may decide on a crown for that reason.
- A previous restoration chipped, fell off or is falling and you need to replace it with something more permanent such as a crown.
Alternatives to having a crown
9 times out of ten, when a dentist recommends a crown it is because you need it. However, there are alternatives to getting a crown. Below are a few options to avoid the time and costs associated with a lab custom fabricated restoration.
Porcelain Onlays: Porcelain onlays are a safer approach, preserving more of your natural tooth structure, which in the end leads to a healthier mouth. The porcelain onlay is bonded to the enamel keeping the tooth fracture proof, while preserving most of the enamel. Only 2% of dentists in the US perform this procedure regularly (according to a recent study of the ADA). This procedure requires a high level of skills and takes more work and time, but when performed by the right dentist, it can be a great alternative to getting a crown.
Phasing Treatment: In some instances, you can put a filling instead of a crown. Although a crown would be the optimal solution, putting a filling could buy you time until you get a more definitive treatment.
Using Provisional Crowns: In some occasions, your dentist will be able to use an in-office fabricated crown, also known as provisional crown. The provisional crown can be bonded to the tooth and buy the patient time until he or she can afford a more definitive treatment. The downside to provisional crowns is that they are only temporary. On average, a provisional crown will last 3-9 months. Keeping a temporary crown too long can result in the patient losing the tooth.
In office lab Indirect Resin Crowns: even though very few dentists use this approach, in office lab indirect resin crowns are a good short term alternative to a crown. An indirect resin crown is a crown made out of resin (instead of porcelain). The indirect resin crown is made in the office by the doctor, and finished on the same day. Although this method is performed only by a few doctors, it can save you time and money in the short term.
If you decide to have a crown done, choose a dentist that has good credentials, and above all, that he or she is a good restorative dentist. Restorative dentists not only care about the appearance of the tooth, but most importantly, the fit of the crown (making sure all margins are perfectly sealed, for example) as well as the bite or occlusion. These factors are part of what determines the longevity of a crown and can make the difference between a crown that will last as little as 2 years or as long as 20 years.
Rohrer Cosmetic Restorative Dentistry has been offering dental crowns to patients from Boca Raton and Delray Beach for more than 25 years. Drs Joy & Tom Rohrer were trained at the Pankey Institute. They will be able to assist you in the determination of whether you need a crown or not, or if an alternative to a crown is best for your particular situation.