Why You Might Not Need a Dental Crown For a Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth can be a painful and concerning dental issue and while they are a common issue, they can cause pain, sensitivity and even tooth loss. When you experience a cracked tooth, one of the common solutions is a dental crown.

While dental crowns are indeed a valuable treatment option for many dental problems, they are not always necessary for every cracked tooth.Let’s explore why you might not need a dental crown for a cracked tooth, as well as alternative treatments that might be more suitable.


What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown, also known as a tooth crown or dental cap, is a dental restoration process that is used to cover and protect a damaged or weakened tooth. It is designed to encase the entire visible portion of the tooth above the gumline. Dental crowns are custom-made to resemble the shape, size, and color of the natural tooth they are covering, ensuring they blend in seamlessly with the rest of your teeth.

Dental crowns serve various purposes, including:

  • Strengthening a Weak Tooth: Crowns are often used to reinforce teeth that have been weakened by extensive decay, large fillings, or fractures. By covering the tooth, a crown can provide additional structural support, preventing further damage.

  • Restoring a Broken or Damaged Tooth: If a tooth is broken, chipped, or extensively worn down, a crown can be placed over it to restore its shape and function.

  • Protecting a Tooth After a Root Canal: After a root canal procedure, where the inner pulp of a tooth is removed, the tooth may become more brittle. A crown is placed over the treated tooth to protect it and prevent fracture.

  • Improving the Appearance of a Tooth: Dental crowns can be used for cosmetic purposes to enhance the appearance of a discolored, misshapen, or poorly aligned tooth.

  • Anchoring a Dental Bridge: Dental bridges are used to replace missing teeth. Crowns can serve as anchors on the adjacent teeth to hold the bridge in place.

  • Covering Dental Implants: When a dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth, a crown is placed on top of the implant to mimic a natural tooth.

Why You Might Not Need a Dental Crown

Depending on the crack in your tooth, you may not require a crown. There are several types of tooth cracks, ranging from superficial cracks that affect only the enamel to deep cracks that extend into the tooth’s pulp. The extent of the crack will determine the appropriate treatment.

Here are some reasons why you may not need a crown if you crack your tooth.

  • Superficial Cracks: Superficial cracks that affect only the enamel of the tooth may not require a dental crown. These cracks can often be addressed with more conservative treatments, such as dental bonding or dental veneers. Dental bonding involves applying a tooth-colored resin to the affected area and then shaping and polishing it to restore the tooth’s appearance. Veneers, on the other hand, are thin shells of porcelain or composite material that are bonded to the front of the tooth to improve its appearance.

  • Small Cracks: Small cracks that don’t extend too deeply into the tooth structure may not necessarily require a dental crown. In such cases, your dentist may recommend a filling to repair the damaged area. Fillings are a less invasive and more cost-effective option compared to dental crowns.

  • Root Canal Therapy: In cases where a tooth has a deep crack that has reached the innermost part of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels (pulp), a dental crown may still not be the immediate solution. In some situations, a root canal procedure is often performed to remove the damaged pulp and save the tooth. After a successful root canal, the tooth might be reinforced with a post and core, but a crown may not always be necessary, especially if the tooth is not extensively damaged.

  • Personal Preference: Your personal preferences and dental goals also play a significant role in determining the treatment plan. If you prefer a more conservative approach or are concerned about the cost of a dental crown, your dentist may explore other options with you.

When Do You Need a Dental Crown?

While there are times you may not need a dental crown, there are, of course, times you will. Dental crowns are used in a variety of situations to restore and protect damaged or weakened teeth.

Here are some common reasons why you might need a dental crown:

  • Extensive Tooth Decay: When a tooth has significant decay that cannot be effectively repaired with a dental filling, a crown may be necessary to cover and protect the remaining tooth structure, providing strength and support to the tooth.

  • Broken or Worn Down Teeth: Teeth that are broken, chipped, or excessively worn down due to factors like teeth grinding, trauma, or natural wear and tear can be restored with dental crowns. Crowns improve the tooth’s appearance and function.

  • Dental Bridges: When replacing missing teeth with a dental bridge, crowns are used as anchor points to support the bridge. The crowns are placed on the adjacent healthy teeth, providing stability for the bridge.

  • Weakened Teeth: Teeth that are structurally weak or at risk of breaking, such as those with large fillings or thin enamel, may benefit from the added strength and protection provided by a crown.

While dental crowns are a solution for many dental issues, they may not always be necessary for every cracked tooth. The appropriate treatment for a cracked tooth depends on various factors, including the type and extent of the crack,your preferences, and the dentist’s assessment. It is crucial to consult with a qualified dentist who can provide a thorough evaluation and recommend the most suitable treatment for your specific situation.

If you’ve got a cracked tooth and need dental assistance, our friendly team at Crestmead Dental is ready to help. Get in touch today.

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Dr Henry Wong is a local dental graduate, having done his studies at the University of Queensland. He has had over 10 years of practical experience, providing a wide range of services in the various fields of dentistry. He has a strong interest in Orthodontics (braces) and has an affinity treating young patients. Henry regularly attends a range of continuing education courses, and is very much up to date with his continuing professional development requirements.   Dr Henry is a long term member of the ADA (Australian Dental Association). He has also been involved with RAWCS (Rotary Australia World Community Service), in a charity project that provides much needed dental treatment to villages in Nepal. He has also provided volunteer work in Brisbane through the National Dental Foundation.   Dr Henry enjoys spending time with his family and young daughter. They are often the reluctant subjects one of his other interests; photography. He likes to unwind by listening to comedy podcasts and tending to his growing collection of indoor plants.