A crown is recommended when most of the tooth’s original enamel is broken or gone. Taking out an old filling and replacing it with a larger one takes away more of the original enamel, which makes the tooth weaker.
We don’t want the tooth to get so weak that it breaks or splits when you chew on it. The tooth might have to be extracted if it splits down the root. So most of the time, a larger filling is not the answer, especially when there are already small cracks in the enamel, which is very common. A crown can be made out of porcelain, metal (i.e. gold alloy), or a combination of both, and it surrounds the tooth to protect it from all sides and keep it from splitting. An impression is taken of the tooth and used to craft the crown.
After the impression has been made, a temporary crown will be made out of a plastic material that will last for approximately two weeks while the crown is made in the lab. It is temporarily cemented in place.
During the second appointment, the crown is custom fitted permanently onto your tooth.
You can eat normally, and if you had a root canal previously, it will protect the tooth from splitting if the tooth becomes brittle. The crown can be chewed on, brushed, and flossed like a regular tooth. The life expectancy of a crown is dependent on how much stress is placed on the teeth and how clean the margins around the crown are kept to prevent new decay from developing. Most of the time, patients are very happy to have saved their teeth by getting crowns.