After decades of use, it's not usual for adults to develop cracked teeth, especially if they didn't take of them very well. Luckily, though, dental crowns can be used to repair cracked teeth and prevent further damage. However, they cannot fix every type of damaged tooth. Whether crowns will work for your particular dental needs depends on the answer to these two questions.
How Deep is the Crack?
The first thing the dentist will look at is how deep the crack goes and where it's located. The type of cracks that most amendable to being repaired by dental crowns are craze lines and fractured cusps. Craze lines are the most common type of tooth cracks. These are thin, shallow cracks that appear on the surface of the tooth. They generally don't cause problems beyond marring the appearance of your teeth. This issue can typically be repaired using veneers or dental bonding, but the dentist may recommend dental crowns if there are multiple cracks in the same tooth.
When a piece of the tooth actually breaks off, it's called a fractured cusp. You may experience mild discomfort and tooth sensitivity during the time the tooth remain unrepaired. As long as only a small part of the tooth is missing and there is no damage to the pulp, the dentist can repair the problem using a dental crown.
Unfortunately, dental crowns are not appropriate for teeth where the crack extends vertically into the root, spit the tooth completely, or appear in the tooth's root. This type of damage typically requires extraction and replacement.
How Much Tooth is Salvageable?
Another thing that can affect whether dental crowns can be used to repair your teeth is whether enough of the tooth can be salvaged. Dental crowns are designed to support your natural tooth. If there isn't enough of the tooth structure left to save, then the dentist may recommend the tooth be removed completely.
This can happen when cracked teeth go untreated long enough to develop deep and damaging cavities. If there isn't enough of the tooth left over after removing the rotted portions, then dental crowns won't be helpful. This is also true if most of the tooth is missing due to impact trauma or other breakage.
In these cases, the dentist will typically recommend you have the remainder of the tooth pulled and replaced with either dental implants or partial/complete dentures.
For more information about dental crowns or to make an appointment for a consultation, contact a local dentist.