What are the alternatives to getting a dental crown?

Your dentist may have suggested that you get a crown for several reasons, but you may have alternatives. These include the following:
  • If you are getting a crown to protect a decayed tooth (one with a cavity) from further tooth decay, ask your dentist about filling the cavity instead of getting a crown. Usually, a dentist will recommend a crown if the cavity is too big for a filling, but you may want to check to be sure.
  • If you are getting a crown to cover up a badly stained tooth, or one that is misshapen and causing you embarrassment, you may want to consider veneers as another option. Veneers can be thought of as the “fake nails” of the tooth world. They are thin, tooth-colored shells that are placed on the front of the teeth with a substance called bond. This bonding substance acts like a glue to keep the veneer in place.
  • If you are getting a crown for a cracked tooth, you may be able to get an inlay or an onlay to cover the tooth. These are ways to repair a tooth that may not be able to support a filling but is not so damaged that it needs a crown.
  • If the crown is part of a dental bridge placement (as an anchor for a bridge), ask your dentist about other ways to support the bridge.
An alternative to a dental crown may be a large filling. Crowns are done when there is a significant loss of tooth structure. The crown builds back the tooth and holds the tooth together. Large fillings can break under the stresses of biting and chewing. While a crown may be the best treatment for a badly broken and decayed tooth, a large filling is an alternative treatment that can save a tooth from extraction. If you receive a large filling in place of a crown, you should be careful about eating hard foods which could break the filling. You also should plan for a crown on that tooth in the future to prevent breakage of the tooth. If you have questions about the treatment for a tooth, you should discuss it with your dentist.

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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.