If you have been diagnosed with needing a crown on your tooth, this information may help you better understand your condition and treatment needs.
Technically speaking, a dental crown is the portion of your tooth above the root of the tooth. In a healthy tooth, it’s the portion of the tooth that sits above the gumline (the root sits below the gumline). In dental treatment terms, a dental crown is a restoration that replaces the crown of a tooth. In order for a tooth to be treated with a crown, the tooth has to be ground down significantly (many patients describe that their tooth was ground down to a nub) in order for the restoration to fit your bite, as well as fit down over the tooth and back into your dental arch.
This treatment used to be necessary to save a tooth that had cracked or had a large leaking or broken filling. In these situations, the tooth has been weakened and become brittle to the point that if the dentist put a filling back into the tooth (after the old filling and decay were removed), the remaining tooth would soon fracture, break or crumble.
Decades ago, dentists invented a dental crown that sits down over your tooth and holds everything together like straps around a barrel. Even though the dentist has to aggressively grind down a tooth, this procedure restores the tooth and gives it a chance for survival. Crowns are still the predominant treatment solution for cracked teeth, leaking/broken fillings and many other dental problems. However, new alternative treatments for dental crowns are available due to advances in technology.
Porcelain fillings are an excellent alternative treatment for dental crowns, and this technology does not require your dentist to grind your tooth down to a nub. Using porcelain filling treatment, your dentist will remove only the unhealthy, decayed portion of your tooth. The rest of your healthy tooth structure remains intact. The porcelain filling bonds to the weak areas of your tooth, which will make your tooth stronger. Once a porcelain filling is seated in place, your tooth is almost as strong as it was before it had its first cavity.