When extensive amounts of your tooth are damaged, and a filling would not be strong enough to restore it, we use a dental crown.
Dr. Kagan has a very conservative dental philosophy in that he believes in the smallest dental restoration that will work, or even no restoration at all, because he places a premium on preserving your natural tooth structure. A dental crown is a very aggressive restoration, and he will only recommend this if nothing else will work.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Getting a dental crown involves two appointments. In the first appointment, your tooth is prepared, an impression is taken so that this tooth and all the surrounding and opposing teeth can be replicated in a dental laboratory, and a temporary restoration is placed.
Meanwhile, the impression is sent to a dental laboratory where the final restoration is fabricated to precise standards. When this work is completed, you have your second appointment. The crown is tried in your mouth, and if it fits properly and is made to our exacting standards and meets your approval, it is cemented in your mouth.
Alternatives to Dental Crowns
As we mentioned, this is an agressive restoration and Dr. Kagan would prefer other more conservative treatment options if they work. So what are your alternatives?
First, the more you get away from silver-mercury amalgam fillings and use gold fillings or white fillings, the more you will keep teeth from breaking or other deterioration and needing dental crowns. Amalgam fillings corrode and deform over time, which causes stress in the restored teeth and can lead to breaking the tooth. The deterioration in the fillings leads to recurrent decay and further tooth damage. Gold fillings don't corrode or deform, and neither do composites. This reduces the need for restoring teeth a second or third time.
But if you already have a weakened tooth that is in danger of breaking, a gold filling (gold inlay or onlay) can often be an excellent, long-lasting option. Please see our page about gold fillings for more information.
Gold inlays and onlays are a more conservative option.