Crowns and Bridges

When a tooth has had a large filling or root canal, the remaining tooth structure becomes very thin and brittle. Normal biting forces can cause fracture of these weakened teeth.

Often the teeth fracture below the gum line and surrounding jawbone. When this happens, the tooth cannot be saved and must be extracted.

A crown (or cap) is a conservative, preventive procedure to protect the weakened tooth from fracturing. The tooth is prepared in such a way that a crown can cover it and protect it from breaking. When the crown is on the tooth, biting forces tend to hold the tooth together to prevent fracture.

Normally the crowns are fabricated to match your own natural teeth. In traditional crowns, special fracture resistant porcelain completely covers a thin metal ‘thimble’, which has been precision cast to exactly fit the prepared tooth. New bonded all porcelain crowns are now available which beautifully replicate natural teeth.

The life expectancy of a crown is difficult to estimate, as it primarily depends on the patient’s oral hygiene. The crown itself cannot decay, but the tooth underneath can.  With excellent oral hygiene and regular evaluation at cleanings, a crown can last 10-20 years.

A tooth that requires a crown usually has large, deep fillings. It is always possible that the nerve in the tooth may act up and require a root canal after it has been prepared for a crown.  However, it is less likely to act up then if the crown wasn’t done.  If a tooth needs a root canal after a crown is done, it can usually be done right thru the crown, or the crown can be removed.  Normally the crown does not have to be remade.

Crowns can help broken-down and failing teeth last a lifetime.