How Much Tooth Structure Is Needed For A Crown?

How Much Tooth Structure Is Needed For A Crown?

Team Dental Crowns

A crown is a restoration option for a tooth that is damaged or decayed. In many cases a crown can save a tooth, preventing it from needing to be extracted and replaced. But in order to place a crown, there must be enough tooth structure available to attach it. 

How much tooth structure is needed for a crown? What happens if there is not enough? Here’s what you need to know about getting a dental crown. 

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown, sometimes called a cap, is a protective covering placed over an existing tooth to protect the remaining enamel and the root. A crown can be made of porcelain, metal, or a combination of the two. Porcelain most closely resembles tooth enamel for a natural look. It can be custom made to match the color and shape of your other teeth. 

The biggest benefit of a dental crown is that the natural root of the tooth remains in place. This allows it to look and function more like a natural tooth. It is also more affordable than replacing the tooth with a bridge or dental implant.

The Dental Crown Procedure

The first step to prepare a tooth for a crown is to make impressions of the existing tooth. Any decay is removed and the enamel is reduced to make room for the crown. Then impressions are made again to create the crown. For Same Day Crowns the crown is made in the dental office and placed all in one appointment. This is more convenient for patients than the traditional method of preparing the tooth, ordering the crown, placing a temporary crown, and placing the permanent crown weeks later. 

What is Crown Lengthening?

In some cases there is not enough tooth enamel left for the crown to attach to. On average there needs to be at least 2 millimeters of tooth enamel or ¼ of the tooth remaining to place a crown. If there isn’t enough, one possible solution for this situation is crown lengthening, a procedure that is done to expose more tooth material. Some of the gum tissue can be removed to make room for the crown to attach. This procedure can be done by a dentist or periodontist if the patient is a good candidate. 

Alternative Treatment Options 

If there is not enough tooth structure to place a crown, the tooth may need to be extracted and replaced with a prosthetic. There are two different tooth replacement options available: 

  • Dental implant. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed in the jaw. It is made of titanium, a biocompatible material that fuses with the bone to form a solid bond that can last a lifetime. An artificial tooth can be attached to the implant to provide a natural appearance and function. 
  • Dental bridge. A dental bridge is an artificial tooth suspended between two crowns that fit over the existing teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The existing teeth act as supports for the bridge. 

A dental implant is considered to be a higher quality restoration than a bridge because it lasts longer and doesn’t damage the healthy teeth in any way. But a bridge is a more affordable option that is generally covered by insurance. 

Are You a Good Candidate for a Crown?

If you have a tooth that is severely decayed, worn down, chipped, cracked, or broken, you may be a good candidate for a crown. After an evaluation of your existing tooth, your dentist can determine whether or not there is enough solid tooth structure for it to be restored with a crown or if any preparation is needed. The root of the tooth and the dental pulp inside must also be healthy for a crown to be successful. 

Doctors Lake Family Dental Provides Same Day Crowns 

At Doctors Lake Family Dental you can have a crown placed in just one appointment. We provide CEREC Same Day Crowns that are created right in our office, offering the convenience of crown restoration in just one day. 
Call 904-264-6700 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.