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Crowns, Bridges, Dentures, Implants

Crown after new filling cracked

05/04/2009

Question:

I had a filling break off on my upper back tooth. I went today to have the filling done. I have not had any fillings in about 30 yrs so the filling was old. After my dentist filled it, the filling developed a crack before I ever left the office. Now she says I have to have a crown. I have never had this done and am nervous about it. I am not sure what to expect plus it is very difficult to have my mouth open for very long without a lot of pain because of previous bilateral TMJ surgery. I also don`t have dental insurance so this is going to be quite expensive. But I am willing to pay it if it means preserving the tooth. What does getting a crown entail and is it painful? Thanks.

Answer:

When a tooth has a filling so large that it cannot be retained well by the remaining tooth structure, a crown is the treatment that allows a dentist to restore the tooth.

As dentists, we must decide on the treatment that we recommend based on the amount of tooth we have to work with. Getting a crown is not much different than a filling - the metal part will go around the tooth (instead of inside it) to protect it. It generally takes 2-3 visits though because the crown must be custom-made by a dental laboratory. In the meantime, you'll have a temporary crown on your tooth. When the crown is made it is tried-in and cemented on your tooth, thus protecting the whole outside surface.

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Response by:

Julie A Holloway, DDS, MS, FACP Julie A Holloway, DDS, MS, FACP
Associate Professor of Restorative and Prosthetic Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University