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Dental Crown: Benefits and Problems

Dental crowns are performed by removing the outer surface of the tooth and then placing a cap that looks like a tooth on top of the tooth stub.

dental crown

Broken Crown At Tooth Margins

Below are two pictures of a broken dental crown. These pictures give you some idea of what a dental crown looks like from the inside.

broken dental crownbroken dental crown underside

(bottom two images from flickr)

Why Did This Dental Crown Break?

If you notice the crown appears intact. Rather the tooth broke off at the margins. The tooth margin is at the intersection where the bottom of the crown meets the gum line. This is the location of the highest biting stress on the tooth. A poor diet, leads to weak teeth, which under pressure can break or crack.

Dental fillings fill in a part of the tooth. A dental crown is like a giant custom made filling, that covers the entire visible part of the tooth. A dental crown creates a synthetic tooth surface.

Crowns are Typically Recommended For:

  • Broken Teeth
  • Excessively worn teeth
  • Teeth that cannot be successfully treated with a dental filling

A crown is made in a laboratory or using high tech imaging technology to make a synthetic version of your natural tooth. Crowns will run you somewhere in the range of $350-$800 each. Crowns from holistic or biocompatible dentists may cost you more.

Problems With Crowns

A variety of problems can occur with crowns. Firstly the tooth is suffocated. Imagine if you had a scratch on your skin. And as a solution, you put on a new layer of non-breathable skin on top of your skin? It would feel horrible. In the same way, our teeth need to breathe due to miles of microscopic fluid canalsin each tooth.

The teeth have fluid flowing in them, and a dental crown will suffocate this flow. It will make your tooth unhappy.

Another problem with crowns is that one usually has to drill away good tooth structure in order to make the crown fit properly. As a result, the remaining tooth is fairly weak. That is one reason why you hear of crowns breaking.

Surgical Alternatives and Crowns

Some holistic oriented dentists offer alternative treatments to dental crowns. One alternative is to perform a high quality filling that is larger than usual to restore the tooth, rather than to do a crown.

Another alternative is a more modern dental crown bonded with a high strength bonding agent. Newer technology, which I believe uses lasers, allows for a dentist to place a crown that is much thinner than the old fashioned crowns shown in the pictures above. This means crowns can be placed which require much less drilling of your tooth.

More conservative dentists will perform an onlay. An onlay is a large filling that is designed and crafted outside of the tooth like a miniature sculpture and then fit into a hole drilled in the tooth.

Tooth Remineralization and Dental Crowns

A dental crown does not heal or prevent tooth decay. It simply hides the symptom of your body's decomposition process. Many times a crowned tooth will eventually develop new tooth decay because the root cause of the tooth decay was not addressed. Furthermore the crowning process is traumatizing to the tooth.

Crowned teeth are difficult to heal and remineralize because they have been so traumatized and abused. Teeth with large cavities are already unhealthy. Once they are drilled down to a stub for a crown, they are in worse shape. So crowned teeth can be challenging to heal naturally if they are giving you problems. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try. I just want to be honest with you about what to expect.

Why get your teeth crowned if you can make them healthier with diet? Take the Cure Tooth Decay tour to learn more about an alternative method to heal your teeth.

If you have pain with a dental crown, consider improving your diet first before that crown turns into another expensive procedure, a root canal.

Preparing a Tooth For a Dental Crown

This video shows a tooth being prepared for a dental crown. This procedure is typical for what a dentist might do. Notice how much healthy tooth structure is being drilled away on the tooth in order to fit the dental crown.

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