Extraction is not always the remedy for an increasingly painful tooth decay. In cases where the root of a decaying tooth is still intact and functional, a dentist would normally look for other options to prevent the decay from spreading while keeping the tooth. He or she might recommend tooth filling.
Then again, a dental filling’s effectiveness is limited by the severity of the tooth decay. If almost half of the tooth has been damaged, dental fillings may no longer be viable. Extensive damage would require more fillings, which might go below the gum line, damaging the tooth’s structural integrity. What a dentist could recommend, instead, is dental crown installation.
A dental crown is a restorative device used to replace the portion of a tooth that is lost to decay or trauma. Also known as a dental cap, it is usually made of porcelain to closely mimic real tooth. Besides stopping tooth decay, a dental crown may also be used to cap a broken or discolored tooth.
The crown can serve to protect the broken tooth from elements that can trigger sensitivity, and to conceal stains and discolorations. Most porcelain crowns can be colored to match the rest of the teeth while hiding imperfections.