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When does a tooth need a crown?

MathildaMaeMathildaMae Registered User Posts: 378 Member
edited March 2009 in Parent Cafe
Two days ago, I chipped a back tooth -- a small piece off of the corner. Today, I went to the dentist and he wants to put a crown on the tooth. I am not happy about this and am wondering if a crown is really necessary. (The crown is expensive, plus I like the idea of keeping as much of my natural tooth as I can.)

Any thoughts?
Post edited by MathildaMae on

Replies to: When does a tooth need a crown?

  • franglishfranglish Registered User Posts: 2,308 Senior Member
    I have done that a couple of times, and the dentist was able to just bond some adhesive on top of the spot where it cracked off, after I said I didn't want a crown. He said that it would last a few years and then I would probably need a crown anyway. I figure I can hold out with this a couple of years, and then do this again. It was about $150 versus about $1000. A big difference, and just as good, as far as I can tell.
  • ebeeeeeebeeeee Registered User Posts: 5,199 Senior Member
    I have a crown and it became necessary when my bite was affected. If you are unsure I would definitely get another dentist opinion. You don't want to not do it and then end up with other problems
  • OaksMomOaksMom Registered User Posts: 615 Member
    Mathilda, were there any cracks in the tooth? Has this tooth been previously filled? How old is the filling if so? A crown can be the route to go if the tooth is appearing to fall apart...and a chip off of it may indicate that it is falling apart. I'm going through some dental work myself, finally decided to bite the bullet before I need a root canal on my crumbling teeth.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,531 Senior Member
    If the damage to the tooth is such that a filling won't stay in place, or if the tooth has a lot of fillings, a crown may be the best option. It maintains most of the natural tooth, but with a cover over it. I have nine xrowns. I have never had any trouble with any of them, and some have lasted as long as twenty-five years, so I think I'm getting my money's worth.
  • 3bm1033bm103 Registered User Posts: 4,209 Senior Member
    If money is an issue I'd try a Dental School. The students are always looking for patients to work on and they will give you excellent care at a far better price.
  • younghossyounghoss Registered User Posts: 3,021 Senior Member
    I thought this was a riddle...
  • woodywoody Registered User Posts: 3,861 Senior Member
    ^^Me too. I was about to say when it has been declared Supreme Ruler of the Mouth and Gums, Lord of the Lips!
  • notre dame ALnotre dame AL Registered User Posts: 1,674 Senior Member
    As previous posters have mentioned, I would be careful about using the bonding adhesive route as it will eventually wear away. Certainly, you don't want to damage the tooth any further. Crowns are expensive; root canals are worse (not just cost, but the pain, etc). If you really don't want to go the crown route, ask the dentist if the tooth might be damaged further by just doing the adhesive. You might also ask the dentist about bartering over the cost--have been hearing/reading that many dentists are in the bartering business when it comes to dental care because of this economic crisis. I do not personally know of a dentist that does this; however, it never hurts to ask with regard to cost. I also understand about wanting to keep as much as the natural tooth as possible which is why the adhesive route may be the way to start, provided the risk of further damage is minimal. Good Luck!

    PS-I think this is a great riddle, too!!
  • NewHope33NewHope33 Registered User Posts: 6,208 Senior Member
    YoungHoss, you are TOO funny! "Hey Doc, the Dentist is trying to put the bite on me!"

    OP - If having lots of crowns makes me and expert (no fluoridated water in my home town), then I'm an expert. You need a second opinion, because there are tooth defects that can be fixed with bonding, and some defects that can't. Bonding works GREAT when it's appropriate.
  • PackMomPackMom Registered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    I knew I had a problem when it became painful to chew on one side of my mouth. I had not chipped or broken a tooth. I went to the dentist. The x-ray showed a crack. He said both the pain and the crack would get worse and turn into a root canal situation if I didn't get it crowned. I got the crown.
  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Registered User Posts: 8,573 Senior Member
    Keeping natural teeth is good but a tooth can be chipped because of biting down on something hard or because it has cracks/large fillings/etc. and really needs to get fixed more permanently. If this chip caused other cracks you're probably better off doing the crown now than having it break and then having to have a root canal.

    When the dentist mentioned the crown did you ask him/her about alternatives? Although the first recommendation might have been a crown your dentist might have alternatives or be able to explain to you why a crown is recommended. It's best to have a full dialogue with the dentist regarding any dental work and understand as best you can why the particular treatment is recommended. If the dentist explained and justified it but you don't trust that treatment plan, go get another opinion at another dentist an find a dentist you have more confidence in if you can.

    Don't be hesitant to engage your doctors in dialogue and make sure you understand what they want to do and why.
  • PackMomPackMom Registered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    Also ask about the costs of the crown based on material used. DH needed a crown on a tooth in the far back of his mouth. He found out that a gold crown was cheaper than a porcelain one (this was prob. 5 years ago, could be different now) so went with the gold since it would never really be seen. My Mom once did the same thing except had a stainless steel crown put on a far back tooth since it was the cheapest route.
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Registered User Posts: 19,008 Senior Member
    Also, my dentist gives a discount for paying cash in some cases
  • ShrinkrapShrinkrap Registered User Posts: 11,788 Senior Member
    My crack turned out to be too late for crown, and then too deep for root canal. Had to have it extracted and get implant PLUS crown for about 4k. Still had to pay for the anesthesia for the root canal and the lab fees for the first crown.
  • mkm56mkm56 Registered User Posts: 3,062 Senior Member
    If you have any question, I would seek another opinion. There are so many factors involved. I did chip off the bottom of a front tooth 30 years ago and had the bonding done and it is still fine. However, that tooth was healthy, no cracks and no fillings.
This discussion has been closed.