A tooth can chip due to trauma or long-term decay. Leaving a chipped tooth in your mouth can prove cosmetically unappealing and can cause physical discomfort. Dental crowns are a common treatment for chipped teeth, but the type of crown used will vary depending on the severity of your problem.
Here's a quick walkthrough of the dental treatment options for a chipped tooth. Consult a dentist as soon as possible to discuss which option might be right for you.
What's a Dental Crown?
All three types of dental crown involve the same basic treatment method. Your dentist will perform x-rays and take a mold of the affected tooth to create the crown. A tooth-colored or metal composite material is used to create the custom-fit crown, which fits down over your damaged tooth like a cap.
Where the types of crowns differ is the amount of tooth that is covered. Note that you want to leave as much healthy tooth exposed as you can to make chewing feel more natural and to promote the health of the existing tooth.
Moderate, Deep Damage: Traditional Crown
A traditional dental crown covers the entire existing crown –or the visible part of your tooth that sits above the gums. Traditional dental crowns are the best choice when there is a significant chip or a small chip and decay throughout the tooth. Note that the tooth still needs to be structurally sound or the crown can't bond properly.
The benefits of this type of crown include the protection of the existing tooth structure from any further decay-related damage and the ability to correct other mild cosmetic problems, such as a smaller than normal tooth.
Minor to Moderate, Surface Damage: Three-Quarter or Onlay Crown
If the chip is moderate but the base of the tooth is still healthy, your dentist might recommend a three-quarter crown. As the name suggests, this would cover three-quarters of your tooth and leave the natural base alone.
Do you only have minor, surface damage? An onlay crown can cover the very top of the tooth where you've suffered a small but obnoxious chip.
There's an important consideration about three-quarter and onlay crowns. If you opt for a metal or porcelain and metal combination crown, it will be very obvious that part of the tooth isn't your real tooth. All porcelain crowns exist and will better mimic a natural tooth but this option also tends to cost more. For more information, contact Wigwam Dental Care.