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Dentistry/resin composite vs crown


Hi, When i was younger I chipped my front tooth. The dentist put a what I'm guessing is a resin composite (I know it's not a crown). It's been many years since I've had it done and is now pretty discolored and is even wearing away a little. I went to the dentist yesterday and they are saying I need to do a crown. That a composite just won't be effective. I guess I'm just not understanding why I they can't just take the old composite off and replace it with a new one? They said there was some decay in the tooth and that was part of the problem. Do you think I really need a crown, or would i be ok with a composit? Could I get a new composite now and then get a crown later?

Hi Brenda,

One of my biggest pet peeves is that I always like directing someone toward a specialist.  That is someone who has a more expert focus in just one area giving you the best chance at good advice.

Depending on how long ago you went to your dentist, he may be right in saying your tooth may have some decay or is in some way a little different than the first time you had your tooth fixed.  The decision on what to do about it may be different depending on what is going on in your mouth years later.

Before you do anything, I think I would check with a good Prosthodontist.  One of the things a Prosthodontist does is maintain the appearance and comfort of your teeth.  He would be more likely to factor in the appearance and smile of your teeth.

A crown would be a last option that I would consider.  Typically a crown would be far less expensive than a total restoration of your tooth.  Did you tell your dentist you are on a budget or that money is a factor?  That could be one reason why he suggested a crown.

Short answer....go to a Prosthodontist.  Good luck and let me know how that goes.

Best Regards,
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Jonathan at PatientBabble


My area of expertise from the patients point of view would be Dentistry/TMJ plus the speech challenges that these jaw and bite problems sometimes represent. Over the years I have seen a multitude of dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, speech therapists, neurologists and other health professionals who all had an opinion about my TMJ/bite problem. I AM NOT A DOCTOR...but would purely be a patients point of view type person. I "get it" when people say they tried to explain to their dentist what their TMJ/bite problem is and that they are misunderstood. I can listen to people's trials and tribulations and there is a good chance I have been down that road before. I can make suggestions as to what people can do at home, or what questions to ask their doctor or dentist when they visit. I will try and recall information or experiences that may be helpful to you.


About 25 years ago, I had my wisdom teeth out and since then my bite has never felt "normal." For whatever reason, the first sensation I remember was not that my bite was off.....but rather that my normal tongue and speech patterns had been impeded. I spent years going to different dentists, who lumped me into their generic version of what they knew about TMJ. The majority of dentists believe they can treat TMJ, but only those whose primary focus is TMJ treatment, are really any good at it. Any dentist, can take an impression of your teeth, send that impression off to the lab and have them make a night guard. That is the easy part. The tricky part is what the dentist does with the night guard, once receiving it from the lab. The dentist has to do a "fitting" where they tailor the night guard to be evenly balanced and comfortable in your mouth. Sometimes it can take a few visits, because further adjustments need to be made to the night guard appliance, to get it just right. I have found that dentists, who have had the most practice, do a better job at fitting your appliance. It's almost like an art form.

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