For teeth that are severely worn, broken or have large cavities or fillings, the only saving grace is a dental crown—a hollow, tooth-like cap permanently cemented over your natural tooth.

Protecting just the front of the teeth [as with veneers] is not always enough. Many times patients think they need veneers when crowns are a better option because they provide more support.

Crowns can be used to make a crooked smile appear straighter, to repair broken or damaged teeth or to cover a bridge or implant. The tooth surface is reduced, then covered with a custom cap in porcelain, porcelain bonded to metal, or another durable substance. Crowns are sometimes used side-by-side with veneers in a full-mouth restorative procedure.

If you have tooth sensitivity, crowns may help there, too. Most tooth sensitivities can be addressed quickly through a detailed exam. Sometimes the culprit is a fractured tooth, which doesn’t necessarily indicate the need for a root canal. Fractured teeth can be preserved and made nonsymptomatic with crowns. In most cases, once the bite is balanced on the fractured tooth, symptoms diminish within a couple of weeks to a month.

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