Apparently, dental services account for the largest portion of benefit payments by private health insurers (the Australian government’s Department of Health reports that dental services accounted for 51% of the total benefit payment by private health insurers in 2011 – 2012, which amounted to $1.79 billion). Restorative dental treatments, in particular, are quite costly yet vital for good oral health.
The different types of restorative dental treatments include: dental implant, crown and bridges. These forms of treatment help to restore your natural smile while preventing oral health issues in the future. This is done by restoring damaged teeth or replacing missing teeth.
If you have missing teeth, dental implants would be your best choice for restoring a full set of teeth. In this treatment, the metal anchor of a dental implant is inserted deep into your jaw bone. Thereafter, a false tooth is inserted onto it, producing a firm tooth that looks like the natural one.
Of all the restorative dental treatments, as well as all other dental treatments, crowns are the most costly (the Australian government’s Department of Health reports that the average dental charge for crowns, in privately insured Australians, was $1,397.98 during 2012). This is because such a restorative treatment requires advanced expertise, special material and equipment.
A crown is basically a cap shaped in the form of a tooth. It is placed over natural teeth to provide protection for damaged teeth. Crowns will not only look similar to natural teeth, but are also equally as hard.
There are several instances in which you may need a crown. The International Dental Foundation identifies some of the signs that you should look out for:
(i) Cracked teeth would normally require a crown. If your teeth hurt while biting, you probably have a cracked tooth. This requires restorative treatment, since the crack will not heal.
(ii) The extent of a crack will also determine the extent of treatment required. Full-coverage crowns would be necessary in cases of vertical cracks reaching the gum line. However, cracks extending below the gum line would need crown lengthening or extra treatment, such as root canal therapy or even extraction. Following extraction, a dental implant may be applied.
(iii) If you have a discolored tooth filling, a crown may be inserted, simply to conceal such discoloration.
(iv) A combination of crown and bridges would be inserted for the purpose of holding bridges or dentures firmly in place.
(v) A crown may be necessary in case you have a large tooth filling. This is because the filling may lead to cracking of your tooth; hence a crown would help protect your tooth.
(vi) You should also differentiate between a crack and a craze. Craze lines are simply stress lines, which normally don’t require a crown, since they don’t affect your tooth’s structural integrity. This may just require whitening. However, deeply stained or very long craze lines could be an indication of developing cracks. Your dentist is able to identify such subtle differences and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Cases of missing teeth are generally treated by inserting dental bridges. This is useful in covering the gaps between teeth. Such treatment is not only useful in improving your appearance, but also keeping the other teeth in place.