When Do You Need a Dental Crown?

Hey there, folks! Let’s talk about dental crowns – those little guys that can do wonders for your teeth. Maybe you’ve heard of them before, or maybe you’re wondering what exactly they are. Well, wonder no more! Dental crowns are like little protective helmets for your teeth, designed to keep them strong and healthy even when damaged or weakened.

But when do you need one? That’s the million-dollar question and one that we’re going to dive into today. From cracked teeth to extensive decay, we’ll explore the different scenarios where a dental crown might be just what the dentist ordered. So, buckle up and get ready to learn about the magic of dental crowns!

When Do You Need a Dental Crown?

A dental crown, also known as a “cap,” is a dental restoration that completely encases a tooth or dental implant to restore its shape, size, strength, and function. Dental crowns are used to protect teeth weakened by decay or trauma and cover dental implants or anchor dental bridges.

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For additional reading, the American Dental Association provides valuable resources to understand dental health.

But when do you need a dental crown? Here are some of the most common scenarios:

  1. Tooth decay: If a tooth is severely decayed, a filling may not be enough to restore it. In such cases, a dental crown can cover the damaged tooth and protect it from further decay.
  2. Cracked or broken tooth: A dental crown can help to hold a cracked or broken tooth together and prevent further damage. This is particularly important for molars used for chewing, as they are under constant pressure.
  3. Large filling: A tooth may be weakened and more prone to cracking or breaking if a tooth has a large filling. A dental crown can provide additional support and protect the tooth from damage.
  4. Root canal: A tooth may be weaker and more prone to fracture after a root canal. A dental crown can help to protect the tooth and restore its function. You can find out more about root canals from the Mayo Clinic.
  5. Cosmetic purposes: Dental crowns can also be used for cosmetic purposes, such as to cover a discolored or misshapen tooth or to improve the appearance of a smile.

If you need a dental crown, talk to your dentist. They can examine your teeth and recommend the best treatment for your needs.

When Do You Need a Crown vs Filling?

Do I need a crown or a filling? Regarding dental restorations, dental crowns and fillings are two of the most common options. But how do you know whether you need a crown or a filling? Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. The extent of the damage: Fillings are typically used for small to medium-sized cavities, while dental crowns are usually recommended for larger areas of decay or damage. If the damage to your tooth is extensive, a filling may not provide enough support, and a crown may be necessary.
  2. Location of damage: The site of the damage is also an important consideration. Fillings are often used for cavities on the chewing surfaces of molars or premolars. At the same time, crowns are typically recommended for molars or premolars with large areas of decay or damage and for front teeth that are badly discolored or misshapen.
  3. Strength and durability: Dental crowns are generally stronger and more durable than fillings, as they completely cover and protect the tooth. If you have a tooth that is weak or prone to cracking, a crown may be a better option than a filling.
  4. Cosmetic concerns: If you have a tooth badly discolored or misshapen, a crown may be better than a filling, as it can completely cover and transform the tooth’s appearance.

Ultimately, the decision to get a filling or a crown depends on the specific needs of your teeth. Your dentist can help you determine the best course of treatment based on the extent and location of the damage, as well as any cosmetic concerns you may have.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Tooth Crown

Dental crowns are a common dental restoration used to cover, protect, and strengthen damaged or weakened teeth. Like any dental procedure, dental crowns have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of dental crowns:


  1. Protection: Dental crowns provide excellent protection for damaged teeth, helping to prevent further decay, fractures, or other types of damage.
  2. Durability: Dental crowns are strong and long-lasting and can withstand the pressure of chewing and biting.
  3. Cosmetic improvement: Dental crowns can improve the appearance of teeth that are discolored, misshapen, or otherwise unattractive.
  4. Comfort: Once a dental crown is properly fitted and adjusted, it can be comfortable and natural.


  1. Cost: Dental crowns can be expensive, especially if you require multiple crowns or pay out-of-pocket.
  2. Time-consuming: Getting a dental crown typically requires at least two dental appointments, which can be inconvenient for some patients.
  3. Sensitivity: Some patients experience sensitivity or discomfort after getting a dental crown, especially if the tooth requires a root canal or other extensive dental work.
  4. Reduction of natural tooth structure: To fit a dental crown properly, some natural tooth structures must be removed, weakening the tooth and making it more susceptible to damage in the future.

Overall, dental crowns can be an effective solution for damaged or weakened teeth. Still, weighing the potential advantages and disadvantages before deciding to proceed with the procedure is important. Your dentist can help determine whether a dental crown is best for your needs.

Is a Dental Crown Expensive?

Dental crown cost can vary depending on several factors, including the location of the tooth, the type of material used, and the extent of any necessary dental work before the crown can be placed. Here are some general cost ranges for dental crowns:

  1. Porcelain or ceramic crowns: These are typically the most expensive type, ranging from $800 to $3,000 per tooth.
  2. Gold crowns: Gold crowns are less expensive than porcelain or ceramic crowns but cost between $800 and $2,500 per tooth.
  3. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are more affordable, typically costing between $500 to $1,500 per tooth.

It’s important to note that these are general cost ranges, and the cost of a dental crown can vary depending on various factors. Additionally, suppose any additional dental work is needed before the crown can be placed, such as a root canal or other types of dental restoration. In that case, this can also increase the overall cost.

Dental Insurance

If you have dental insurance, your plan may cover part or all of the cost of a dental crown. Check with your insurance provider to determine your coverage and any out-of-pocket costs you may be responsible for. Some dental offices also offer payment plans or financing options to help make the cost of a dental crown more manageable.

Preparing a Tooth for a Crown

Preparing a tooth for a dental crown is a multi-step process that typically requires at least two dental appointments. Here’s what you can expect during the tooth preparation process:

  1. Examination and evaluation: Before the tooth can be prepared for a crown, your dentist will examine the tooth to assess the extent of any damage or decay. They may also take X-rays to get a more detailed view of the tooth and surrounding area.
  2. Numbing the tooth: To make the process as comfortable as possible, your dentist will numb the tooth and surrounding area with a local anesthetic.
  3. Reshaping the tooth: Once the tooth is numb, your dentist will use a drill to remove any decayed or damaged areas of the tooth. They will then reshape the remaining tooth structure to make room for the crown. This usually involves removing some of the outer surface of the tooth, as well as some of the tooth’s interior structure.
  4. Making an impression: After the tooth has been reshaped, your dentist will take an impression of the tooth using a putty-like material. This impression will create a mold of your tooth that will be sent to a dental lab, where your crown will be custom-made.
  5. Temporary crown placement: While you wait for your permanent crown, your dentist will place a temporary crown on the tooth to protect it and restore its shape and function.
  6. Permanent crown placement: Once your crown has been made, you will return to the dental office for a second appointment. Your dentist will remove the temporary crown and place the permanent crown onto the prepared tooth. They will then make necessary adjustments to ensure a proper fit and bite.

Overall, preparing s tooth for a dental crown is a thorough and precise process that requires careful attention to detail. Your dentist will work closely with you to ensure that the final result is a functional and aesthetically pleasing crown.

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