Prosthodontist Questions Dental Health

How do you know when you need a dental crown?

When do I know when I have to get a dental crown made for my tooth? Are there signs I should look out for?

8 Answers


Well, it’ll be for you to judge and is best to see your dentist if concerned. Generally, crowns are needed to support the tooth in function and longevity. So, post-root canals, especially in molars, if less than 2 mm of remaining tooth structure encase the tooth, fractured tooth with a missing cusp, teeth which are malformed and unable to remedy using resin, etc., these are a few of the signs one would look for to judge the need for a crown.
Hope this helped.
You will get a crown when there isn't enough tooth structure left to support a filling. Best to prevent problems than it is to restore damaged teeth whenever possible.
Good rule of thumb is that as you've noticed the filling getting larger and larger in the tooth that is to be crowned, your dentist will have more and more problem restoring the tooth and it will last less time between fractures indicating that the crown needs to be covering the entire circumference of the tooth and not just something inert that is placed inside the tooth with pressures radiating outward as you chew. A crown will be a permanent restoration.
If your tooth is not strong enough to have it restored by fillings, or your bite can fracture the existing tooth, or of you had large fillings that are failing are just few examples of why you may need a dental crown restoration, in some instances a root canal tooth is better protected by crown, or a cracked tooth.
Dental crowns are for reinforcing the strength of the tooth and are mostly necessary after root canal treatment and/or if you have big cavities or fillings that compromise tooth strength.
Crowns are made to correct a large area in a tooth that is weak. The problem could be a crack, a fracture a large filling that is old or is not acceptable any more.
If the tooth needs a root canal a crown restauration is indicated to cover and protect the tooth.
When your tooth is damaged beyond the "reach" of dental filling material (composite, silver amalgam alloy). Also, if the tooth is going to be used to support some kind of dental prosthesis (bridge, removable partial denture).
Crowns are recommended for several reasons: a significant portion of the tooth is broken off, multiple fractures in the tooth structure, existing restoration encompasses more than half the natural remaining tooth structure, tooth has had a root canal. Most of these are identified by the dentist and with intra-oral imaging, you, as the patient, can see some of this as well. There are some symptoms you may notice that would indicate your tooth may need a crown. The most notable is discomfort on biting down and sometimes there is more discomfort on release of the bite versus biting down itself. Pain on biting can also mean an abscess. If you have any concerns, I would recommend making an appointment with your dentist to catch any potential problems early.

In health,

Dr. Rankin