Why do I need a crown?, Can’t I just have a filling?
Teeth are weakened by decay and when first discovered, most decayed teeth are restored with fillings to build back the tooth structure lost to decay. Unfortunately, like any mechanical repair, wear and tear occurs and fillings wear out. They mostly wear out around the edges where they meet the natural tooth structure. Little chips and openings occur and bacteria can seep in there and cause what’s called recurrent decay, so this is not a new cavity but an old cavity revisited! This is one of the things we always check on at checkups. We make sure the old fillings are stable and properly sealed.
Now, often when they wear, they can be replaced with another filling. The drilling, removal of any new decay and refilling further weakens the tooth but depending of what percentage of natural tooth is left, we usually are still OK. There are times however in the life cycle of a tooth that had decay and was filled that the remaining walls of the tooth begin to weaken and show signs of microcracks and fractures.
Sometimes these walls will fracture and you hopefully there will still be enough tooth structure to repair it with a crown. We often can see this process developing and recommend a crown BEFORE the tooth fractures to strengthen the tooth and preserve it long term. The earlier the intervention, the less likely the need for more work like root canal therapy or even extraction and implants. Sometimes, the tooth is weakened and can’t take another filling, yet there’s still enough enamel for us to suggest an intermediate restoration called a porcelain inlay or onlay as opposed to a crown. These also strengthen the tooth with less drilling involved. Don’t wait for your teeth to break and risk more involved and more expensive work. Come regularly for checkups and keep your teeth strong!
For more information, you can contact Dr. Michael Krochak at
NYC Smile Spa
30 E. 60th St., Rm 1201
New York, NY 10022
Relax and smile!