When your dentist recommends a crown for a diseased tooth

    submitted by Dr. Michael Spadafora, D.D.S., Bucks County Dental Design

    When your dentist recommends a crown for a diseased tooth, he may recommend a couple of additional procedures to enhance the likelihood of a predictable outcome. 

    The first procedure, called a post and core, is the process of placing a post in the affected tooth, to prepare the tooth to accept the crown.

    The post provides additional retention to the core, especially in the cases where the tooth is heavily diseased and/or broken.

    When the tooth is inadequate to secure the crown, a post and core (or sometimes just a core) provides the necessary stability.

    The post and core become part of the tooth, which then is covered by the crown.

    Another often used procedure relating to a crown is crown lengthening.  Crown lengthening needs to be done 6-8 weeks prior to beginning the crown preparation so that the soft tissue may heal before taking the impression.

    This procedure, done either by a periodontist or specially trained dentist, is the removal of bone and gum tissue at the base of the tooth.

    Crown lengthening is recommended by your dentist for one of several reasons.

    First, the tooth which is to be crowned may be too short to secure the crown and look esthetically pleasing.

    By lengthening the tooth at its base you are elongating the tooth itself and giving the tooth enough of a structure to hold the crown.

    Additionally, when the dentist recommends a crown for a diseased tooth, the lengthening procedure allows the decay below the gum surface to be exposed.

    This enables the crown to cover the problem area.

    Finally, crown lengthening is sometimes recommended as a cosmetic procedure for a person who has a “gummy” smile or a person who has small teeth.

    In this case the dentist contours the gums by removing some bone and gum tissue at the base of each tooth to achieve pleasing aesthetics. 

    Whatever your dentist suggests, he should be prepared to explain the procedures and his reasons for recommending them.

    Your job is to understand what is going on with your mouth and to make the decisions!