Why do I need a crown?
Our job as dentists is to extend the functionality of your dentition beyond the time you need the use of your teeth. That sounds a little extreme but the reality is that I don’t want my patients to have to “gum it” when they get old. So every patient that comes to my office I look at them here and now but also in 5, 10, 20 years from now.
I could easily patch and fill most dental problems. And in the short term, my patients would feel like they received a good service. I fixed the problem and I did it “at a lower cost”. However, the issue is not now it’s many years from now. I see teeth problems that should have or could have been dealt with decades ago but instead, the tooth was patched instead of fixed.
It is hard to tell a 70 year old that they need to have a set of dentures that most likely will not function nearly as well as their own teeth. The extent of decay or wear is so extensive that restoration is near impossible or if it is restored the long-term prognosis is very poor.
So when a patient is dealing with other old age-related ailments or infirmities they are forced to have to deal with a partial or full denture. And I know from many years of experience that the level of disappointment related to teeth is exaggerated in the later years of life.
So that brings me to the main point of this blog. A good dentist should look at every tooth and try to save it for multiple decades and they will mean to restore it with the most appropriate strongest procedure to ensure continued function. The life cycle of a tooth is a small filling, then a larger filling, then a crown or root canal, then a new crown and eventually a dental implant. I try to slow this gradual progression down as much as possible, so the patient never has to experience an extraction or denture.
A crown will be recommended when the tooth has too much filling already or when the filling cannot sustain the forces placed on that tooth. A crown protects 360 degrees around the tooth so forces can be redistributed more evenly to prevent further breakdown.
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