Crowns vs. Bonding: The Inside Scoop

So there you are, minding your own business eating your lunch when, out of nowhere, you bite down on something HARD. Unfortunately, you bit down so hard that you chipped, cracked, or otherwise broke a tooth or teeth. Anyone who has had something like this happen to them knows that a visit to your dentist could end up resulting in a rather pricey procedure.

Many dentists would order a crown be put in place and be done with it. This, however, can present a number of issues. The first question is whether a crown is needed at all; could composite bonding do the job instead? A good dentist would never want to remove any more of the natural tooth than what is needed in order to fix the problem. Generally speaking, crowns require the tooth to conform to a particular shape in order for the crown to sit properly. This usually means some amount of grinding the tooth away in some places, building it up in some places, or both. This alone is a good enough reason to resort to crowns only in cases where it is absolutely necessary. But that’s just a part of what needs to be considered when determining if a crown is desirable. Another big consideration is, of course, the cost!

Many dentists would just put a crown on our hypothetical chipped tooth, but another important option is the use of composite resin bonding. Bonding has some significant advantages over crowns. It helps preserve the part of the tooth that remains, requires less preparation, provides us with the ability to manipulate color easier than with a crown, reduces the risk of nerve damage, and costs about a third of the price of a crown. There is a bit of artistry required to make sure the bonding looks natural, but Dr. Mayo is nicknamed the Bondo King for a reason!

Many people who are told by their dentist that they need X number of crowns with build up, will be hit with sticker shock when they see that estimate on paper. They may be so shocked that they seek a second opinion. Seeking a second opinion is a great idea when considering any large purchase, especially when it involves your health and oral hygiene (not to mention your wallet). Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Dr. Mayo to find that a good portion of the recommended work either does not need to be done, or that an alternative treatment could be done without such a high cost and without unnecessary damage to the tooth.

Nothing lasts forever. Whether you get a crown or have bonding done, you will likely need to get the work replaced at some point in your life. Wouldn’t you prefer the savings that composite bonding provides? I know I would!

P.S. For some examples of Dr. Mayo’s bonding work, check out our Gallery!

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