When cavities are identified, patients should seek treatment promptly so that the dentist can be conservative with the initial attempt to address the problem. A small cavity can be treated with a simple filling.
However, some patients don’t seek treatment until the decay has progressed significantly. In these cases, a filling alone may not suffice.
Instead, dental crowns may be used for advanced decay that is too extensive to be addressed by a standard filling.
Dental crowns may also be used if additional decay has developed under a filling, or if the original filling breaks and causes more damage to the tooth. Crowns are also appropriate when some other damage, like a deep crack, has compromised the integrity of the tooth.
These tooth-shaped caps can be made of a number of materials, including gold and porcelain. Sometimes the porcelain may be fused to metal to further strengthen the crown.
If you do need to get a crown, the dentist will remove the decayed tooth material to prep the tooth before placing the crown. The patient wears a temporary crown until the permanent device is ready to be placed.
At a second appointment, a week or two later, the patient will be fitted with the permanent crown, which is bonded to the tooth with a dental cement.
The process of getting a dental crown involves little or no discomfort. A local anesthetic will suffice to minimize discomfort in most patients and may not even be needed by all crown candidates.
Dental crowns are valuable tools for protecting and preserving a natural tooth that has experienced extensive damage, and with modern materials, crowns can be designed to look remarkably lifelike and blend in with the patient’s natural teeth.
Patients who have tooth decay should be examined by a dentist to determine what treatment is most appropriate in their case. Ideally, you’ll be able to start with a standard filling, but some circumstances will warrant a dental crown. Schedule an appointment with our skilled team of dentists as soon as possible if you have signs of decay.