If you have a large amount of decay in one of your teeth, you may feel that a dental filling should be enough to restore the tooth. Thus, you could find it surprising that your dentist recommends a dental crown in addition to the filling. Here are a few reasons why dental crowns are used in conjunction with dental fillings:
There may no longer be enough tooth material to prevent the tooth from breaking.
If a large cavity occurs in a tooth, the tooth becomes more vulnerable to breaking or cracking. This is often because there is simply not enough hard tooth material left to support the daily bite pressure that is applied to a tooth as a patient eats.
The natural crown, which is the portion of the tooth that is exposed above the gum line, may require additional structural support after a filling has been placed. The filling does help replace the portion of the tooth that had to be removed due to decay, but many fillings are made of composite bonding material. This material is not as strong as porcelain.
Once a porcelain crown has been affixed to the tooth, the tooth becomes strong enough to receive bite pressure on a consistent basis. The underlying tooth is fully protected and structurally fortified by the placement of the crown.
Without a dental crown the tooth may still be more susceptible to a dental infection.
Before a filling is placed, the decayed area of the tooth is usually drilled away. Sometimes, the drilling is invasive enough to remove both outer layers of a tooth.
The two outer layers, which are the dentin and the tooth enamel, help protect the tooth from the oral bacteria present around it. However, even though a filling has been applied after a hole is drilled into the tooth, the filling may not fit completely flush with the tooth. It may not be close enough to the tooth material to prevent the invasion of microscopic organisms.
The application of a dental crown can help ensure that the tooth is fortified and protected from oral microbes. The crown is cemented to the tooth so that oral bacteria and other harmful substances are unable to access the damaged tooth.
To learn more about dental crowns and how they can be used in the restoration of a decayed tooth, schedule a consultation with a general dentist in your area.