Dental crowns are hard, solid caps placed over damaged or decayed teeth. Crowns attach to the natural tooth and allow you to chew, drink, and talk naturally. They’re often crafted from ceramic, porcelain, or gold and are shaped to look and feel much like a natural tooth.
Crowns provide protection and enhanced strength for the covered tooth while improving the appearance of your smile. It’s much like covering an old couch with a sofa cover. The couch may look and feel like a new couch without completely replacing the original material.
Crowns are among the most common dental procedures performed by general dentists. They’re often recommended when a tooth is damaged too badly for fillings. The question is how much natural tooth you need to anchor a crown securely. Keep reading to find out.
What Happens if a Tooth is Too Small for a Crown?
Dentists use crowns to protect and repair teeth that are severely damaged by decay. Fillings are used in most cases when the tooth is 50% or more intact. When ¾ or more of the tooth is damaged or deteriorated, crowns are the best solution.
That means that dental crowns are designed to attach to small tooth surfaces. Dentists are trained to evaluate the remaining tooth to determine that it meets the following criteria:
- Adequate surface to attach a dental crown securely
- Adequate tooth structure to form stable support for the crown
When there isn’t enough natural tooth to securely attach the crown, a dentist will first reconstruct the tooth using composite resin (core build up). This durable material is applied in thin layers, rebuilding the tooth’s surface until it’s large enough to support the crown. The crown is then placed over the resin tooth structure.
When a natural tooth fractures into the gum tissue, two techniques are required. Crown lengthening is a surgical technique that removes gum tissue to expose more tooth structure and enables a core build up to be placed and then shaped to receive a crown
Can You Get a Crown if There is No tooth?
You can get crowns even if your natural tooth is too decayed or damaged to support it naturally, but what about placing crowns over missing teeth? It may seem like that’s impossible because there is no tooth surface to attach the crown to, but there is one option that your dentist may suggest: dental implants.
A dental implant consists of a sturdy post inserted into the gum line and a crown fitted on top. The crown is either screwed onto the metal post or cemented to it at the top. The result is a natural-looking tooth structure made from a durable material that functions much like natural teeth.
Since a crown is used to create dental implants, you can say that it’s possible to place a crown when there is no natural tooth remaining. You just need to create the structure inside the gum to fully support the crown first.
Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Crowns?
If you have decayed or damaged teeth that your dentist can’t repair with fillings, it’s time to talk to our trained dental team about crowns. We will thoroughly analyze your teeth and recommend the best procedures to restore functionality.