How do I know if I need a dental crown?

Your dentist should be able to examine your teeth and mouth and explain to you whether you could benefit from getting a dental crown. He or she may suggest one of these reasons for getting a crown placed:
  • One of your teeth may have a significant amount of tooth decay in it (in other words, you have a large cavity). If the cavity is too big, a filling will not work because there is not enough tooth available to actually fill. In this situation, a crown may be a good choice.
  • You may have a tooth that is broken or cracked in several places. A crown may be a way to support that damaged tooth and keep the pieces of the tooth together. This can prevent having to have a tooth taken out (extracted) by the dentist.
  • You may have a tooth, or maybe several teeth, that are strangely shaped or so stained that you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable when you smile. A crown can be used to cover up these problems with the appearance of your tooth so you can feel more comfortable.
  • You may be getting a dental bridge placed to fill in a gap made by a missing tooth. Sometimes, your dentist will suggest a crown as a way to support, or anchor, that bridge. The crown will be placed on the tooth next to the gap being filled in, and the bridge will be attached to the crown.

Your dentist may suggest a dental crown in order to:

  • cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn't enough tooth left
  • attach a bridge
  • protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that's already broken
  • cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped
  • cover a dental implant
  • restore a tooth to its normal shape and size

A crown is indicated to restore a tooth for the following situations.

  • cusp or tooth fracture, if the tooth is still restorable
  • often following root canal treatment
  • weakened tooth structure
  • extensive restoration of the tooth
  • cosmetic improvement that cannot be resolved more conservatively

It is important to know that your dentist may be able to observe problems of which you are unaware. Therefore, there may be existing situations for which a crown is indicated, but you do not feel anything wrong. As with many other conditions in our mouth and body, it is often not a good idea to wait until it hurts or breaks. It may not be able to be fixed.

Continue Learning about Dental Crown

Are dental crowns strong enough to chew food?
Larry K. Litman, DDSLarry K. Litman, DDS
The materials today in fabricating dental crowns are very strong and at the same time very esthetic ...
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How long does a dental crown last?
Jerry P. Gordon, DMDJerry P. Gordon, DMD
A crown should last at least 5 years. Most crowns will last 10 years or longer if the person practi...
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What are dental crowns made of?
Dr. Benjamin S Fiss DDSDr. Benjamin S Fiss DDS
Years ago, crowns were only made of gold, providing strength but very poor cosmetics. Today, there i...
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Does insurance cover a dental crown?
Jerry P. Gordon, DMDJerry P. Gordon, DMD
Most dental insurance will cover 50% of the cost of a crown. It is categorized as "major" by most i...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.