When would you need a dental crown. Six symptoms to keep an eye on.

Toothache or a cracked tooth? A visit to your dentist is a good idea in those instances. There may be several solutions, depending on the origin of your problem. A dental crown, sometimes referred to as a dental cap, may be the answer. In fact, 2.3 million crowns are placed in the US every year. So, when would you need a dental crown? Read about the signs and symptoms.

In This Article:

  1. What is a dental crown?
  2. When would you need a dental crown: the reasons
    1. Broken or fractured tooth
    2. Need of a bridge
    3. Advanced cavity
    4. After a root canal procedure
    5. Misshapen or stained teeth
    6. Bruxism
  3. The symptoms that you may need a dental crown
  4. What is the procedure for getting a dental crown
    1. Different types of crowns
    2. Can the tooth survive without a crown?
  5. What are the alternatives to a dental crown
  6. Make your dental appointment online

What is a dental crown?

dental crown is a protective cover that’s placed over a damaged tooth to restore its original shape and appearance. It prevents the need for tooth extraction. Typically made of porcelain, metal, or a combination, the crown is made to fit your mouth, after removing decay. It is fitted over the tooth, and cemented in place. This dental cap is not just there to make your teeth look and feel better, it also strengthens weak, broken, or decayed teeth. 

When would you need a dental crown? The tooth-shaped cap not only strengthens weakened or fractured teeth but also enhances aesthetics. That makes it an ideal solution for uneven or discolored teeth. Additionally, it serves as a durable replacement for chipped or failing restorations, providing a long-lasting solution for dental issues. Let’s go into the symptoms of when you would need a dental crown a bit further.

When would you need a dental crown: the reasons

There are many reasons your dentist would suggest getting a dental crown. The main ones are:

Broken or fractured tooth

A dental crown plays an important role in supporting and fortifying teeth that have suffered damage. The crown prevents further breakage. By encapsulating the damaged tooth, it provides a protective barrier, restoring strength and ensuring the tooth’s structural integrity. This not only safeguards against additional fractures, it also promotes overall oral health.

Need of a bridge

Dental bridges, designed to fill gaps left by missing teeth, rely on crowns for anchorage. The crowns, often called ‘abutments’, are strategically placed on adjacent healthy teeth to serve as stable anchors for the bridge. This ensures the bridge’s durability and functionality, allowing for a secure and lasting solution to restore complete and natural-looking dental teeth.

Advanced cavity

A dental crown can be a solution in cases where a cavity has progressed beyond the suitability of a traditional filling. This happens mostly when there isn’t enough healthy tooth structure left to support a filling. By encasing the compromised tooth entirely, the crown not only halts further decay but also reinforces the tooth. This significantly enhances its resilience against potential damage.

After a root canal procedure

After a root canal procedure, the structural integrity of the tooth may be compromised. This increases the risk of fractures. A dental crown is a solution in such situations, providing the necessary strength and support to the treated tooth. By encapsulating the tooth with a custom-crafted crown, the dentist ensures not only the aesthetic restoration of the tooth but also its long-term durability. It minimizes the risk of post-root canal complications.

Misshapen or stained teeth

Dental crowns offer a transformative solution for teeth with aesthetic imperfections such as chips, severe stains, or misshapen contours. As we’ve seen, crowns serve to reinforce the tooth’s structure. Whether this is a result of natural causes, injury, or lifestyle factors, a crown is a great way to blend cosmetic improvement with functional strength.


If you’re dealing with bruxism, or teeth grinding, you’re likely to experience wear and tear on dental surfaces. Dental crowns effectively restore worn-down teeth. It addresses not just functional rehabilitation, but also improvements in appearance. By placing a crown over the damaged tooth, the dentist ensures the restoration of its original form and function, simultaneously enhancing aesthetics and minimizing the impact of bruxism-induced damage.

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The symptoms that you may need a dental crown

Signs you might need a dental crown covers various discomforts. If you’re dealing with one of these, a visit to our dental office is a good idea. A crown may be the answer to:

  • Intense tooth pain
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Cracked or chipped teeth

These symptoms often signal that your tooth needs extra protection and reinforcement, and a crown can provide just that.

On a broader note, if you notice your tooth feeling weak or cracked, or if you’ve had a dental implant or root canal treatment, a crown might be on the horizon. Even if you’re after a smile restoration because of uneven or discolored teeth, crowns not only enhance your appearance but also give your teeth a sturdy boost. 

What is the procedure for getting a dental crown

This procedure typically involves several steps. 

First, your dentist prepares and shapes your tooth, addressing any cavities or bone-related issues. X-rays may be used for assessment. Impressions are taken, and a temporary crown is placed until the permanent one is crafted in a dental lab, a process that usually takes about two weeks. 

In subsequent visits, your dentist cements the crown and conducts final checks for fit and alignment. This way, we ensure your new tooth functions correctly and feels comfortable. 

The overall procedure duration may vary based on the tooth’s condition, ranging from simple to more complex cases involving bone grafting or dental implants.

Different types of crowns

Choosing the right dental crown involves considering various types, each with unique materials, costs, and applications. Of course, your dentist will advise you on the best crown for your situation. 

Gold crowns, known for strength, are mainly used for back teeth. All-porcelain crowns offer a natural look without toxicity. Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns balance strength and aesthetics. Zirconia crowns combine metal strength with porcelain aesthetics, offering biocompatibility. E-MAX crowns, made of lithium disilicate, provide light, thin material for natural aesthetics. 

The choice depends on factors like the tooth’s location, personal preferences, budget, and insurance coverage.

Can the tooth survive without a crown?

While some teeth can endure without one, a weakened or damaged tooth is more prone to breaking or infection. This potentially leads to more extensive dental issues. Make sure to discuss your problems with your dentist, to evaluate if a crown is necessary for your specific situation. Don’t put off getting a crown. That might heighten the risk of additional harm to the tooth. 

How long you can delay depends on the extent of the damage. Only your dentist can make a solid estimate. 

What are the alternatives to a dental crown

When considering alternatives to crowns, several options align with different oral health goals. 

  • Inlays and onlays. Ideal for teeth that are too damaged for fillings but do not require a full crown. Porcelain onlays offer a safe solution, as it preserves the enamel of your tooth.
  • Veneers. Address cosmetic concerns without decay or damage by adhering to the front surfaces of teeth, covering chips, cracks, and discoloration.
  • Tooth extraction and dental implant. Recommended in cases of severe decay or breakage where a crown might not get predictable results, involving tooth extraction followed by a dental implant.
  • Phasing treatment with fillings. Offers a temporary solution until more definitive treatment, sometimes a filling is useful.

Make your dental appointment online

If you’re having dental issues, don’t hold off on a visit to our clinic. Problems usually don’t just go away. Your dentist will give you the best information, that fits your budget. Get in touch with us online.