Can a Dental Crown Preserve the Functionality Of My Smile?

Certainly, dental crowns are an excellent solution for people who have serious amounts of decay on their anterior and posterior teeth, explains Dr. Terry J. Preece DDS. The Anchorage dentist goes on to explain, however, that crowns are not the ideal solution in every scenario.

Dr. Preece says that many dentists face an interesting dilemma when deciding whether to repair a patient’s smile with a dental crown or a composite filling. Unfortunately, Dr. Preece believes that many teeth get crowns when they could get fillings instead. Some dentists are over-diagnosing, which means they are going further than necessary with their treatments for cavities and decay.

Choosing between a crown or a filling is strictly a judgment call in 75% of the cases that dentists see. While there are dentists who are putting crowns on teeth that could get fillings instead, the Anchorage dentist says that are other dentists who are putting jumbo-sized fillings on teeth that should be crowned. Five different dentists could have five different answers in the quest to determine the most functional treatment for a person with serious cavities or decay.

Nonetheless, the basic tenements of dentistry still hold true. The Anchorage dentist says there needs to be enough healthy tooth structure to support a filling, because fillings go inside the teeth. The larger the filling, the less tooth is around to hold it in place. Dr. Preece explains that it can get to the point where a tooth can actually get weaker because of the large filling that has been put in it.

In those cases, dental crowns are seen as the option that preserves more dental functionality. A crown is a device that actually goes over the remaining tooth and surrounds it completely, so that the tooth cannot be broken off by a strong bite. A tooth that has a large filling or is badly decayed to the point where there is not a lot of enamel or tooth stricture left should always have some type of crown put on it.

As a dentist in Anchorage, Dr. Preece says there are different kinds of crowns, and these crowns offer different benefits. Some crowns completely cover the tooth, and then there are devices called partial coverage crowns or three-quarter crowns, which cover the biting surface only. Three-quarter crowns are a conservative compromise that helps everyone out. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will not pay for three-quarter crowns, at which point Dr. Preece says the decision of which option to choose is up to the patient.

*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

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