Crowns are a restoration used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay. Think of a crown as a “cap” cemented onto an existing tooth which fully covers the portion of your tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth and are very strong.
A filling is often used to repair a tooth that is affected by wear, decay, cracks, or fractures. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth is removed and replaced with a filling, which can be made up of many different materials, such as gold, porcelain, composite, ceramic, and plastic compound.
Root canals are needed for a cracked tooth from injury or genetics, a deep cavity, or issues from a previous filling. Some common symptoms that indicate you may need a root canal include:
- severe toothache
- pain when chewing
- increased tooth sensitivity (especially hot + cold)
- dark discoloration of the tooth
- swelling and tenderness in gums
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits in which your dentist will remove the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned, sealed, and filled with a dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breakage.