Why do teeth break?
A dental crown can repair teeth and prevent further damage. On their own, teeth are naturally very strong. They can crack, chip or wear in a variety of circumstances, but it’s rare a tooth will break of its own accord. Aside from a dental accident, which is relatively uncommon, broken teeth, more often than not, are caused by an underlying problem.
- A misaligned or abnormal bite, crooked teeth or sleep apnea can cause teeth grinding and jaw clenching. This can put excessive forces on your teeth, the cumulative effect of which can cause them to break.
- Decay is another dental problem that can impact the strength of teeth putting them at risk of breaking.
Sometimes tooth restorations can cause teeth to become weaker
Unfortunately, dentistry hasn’t progressed to the point where tooth decay has been eradicated (although we’re trying hard to achieve it through dental exams and regular cleanings) so, when a tooth is decayed, the go-to treatment option is to repair it with a dental filling.
How does a dental filling weaken your tooth?
- Dental fillings were designed to fill the hole in the tooth by using the remaining tooth to support the filling.
- Since most fillings have a limited life span, they can fail over time.
- Each time a filling fails the next filling needs to be bigger.
- At a certain point, there may be too much filling and not enough tooth to produce a good result. When the filling exceeds a certain size, the remaining tooth structure can become too brittle to hold the filling under the strain of chewing.
- This can result in the fracture of the remaining tooth.
A tooth that has a large filling has about 25% of the strength and fracture resistance of a non–restored tooth. A dental crown can provide more strength.
A dental crown is used to help restore your tooth
To prevent tooth fracture in the scenario noted above, or to repair a tooth that has already fractured your dentist may recommend that the tooth be treated with a dental crown.
A dental crown, also called a “cap” is a hollow, artificial tooth that’s fabricated in a dental lab. It is used to cover the damaged or decayed tooth to both restore it and protect it from further damage. Once the treatment is complete, the tooth looks and works very much like a natural tooth.
What’s the condition of your fillings?
The saying less is more often holds very true in dentistry. If we can avoid an invasive treatment, we usually will. Sometimes the healthiest option is to leave well enough alone.
You may not have been aware, but during a regular dental check-up, your dentist is monitoring the condition of any restorations you may have. If some of your fillings are large, your dentist will keep a watchful eye on them and recommend treatment only when it is necessary.
If you are concerned about the condition of your dental fillings, or if you want to take all the steps possible to prevent your teeth from breaking, your best bet is to schedule a routine dental exam.