Crowns are prosthetic devices for the teeth. A crown is attached to the tooth with dental cement, ensuring that it will not shift or fall off. Crowns are typically used to cover the entire tooth surface when a tooth is damaged or needs protection for any reason.
The Benefits of Crowns
Crowns are multi-functional. They can be used to enhance a tooth’s strength, improve the cosmetic appearance of the teeth, correct mild alignment problems, and prevent the teeth from shifting into the gap left when a tooth is gone. Crowns often allow patients to keep their own natural teeth in situations where they may have been lost. For example, after root canal therapy the tooth will be highly vulnerable. With the infected pulp of the tooth removed, the outer part of the tooth is more fragile and susceptible to cracking or breaking. The crown will prevent these problems and allow the tooth to look and feel completely normal again.
Common Uses of Crowns
There are a number of common uses for crowns today. These include:
- Replacement of a Filling When There isn’t Enough Natural Tooth Left: Fillings can take up a considerable portion of the tooth and can leave the natural tooth vulnerable when removed. Crowns can make the tooth strong again.
- Reinforcement of a Weak Tooth, Especially if a Crack is Present: A crack is a problem for both aesthetic and functional reasons. Not only does a crack look bad, it can also allow bacteria to enter the tooth. A crown prevents that bacteria from entering and bring the tooth back to its original appearance.
- Restoration of a Tooth after it’s Been Fractured: With a tooth fracture, the tooth is always at risk for breaking in half. The crown will add stability and prevent this from occurring.
- Concealment of a Dental Implant: Dental implants are typically made from a silver medal like titanium and the crown covers the implant completely to make it look just like a natural tooth.
Crowns Versus Veneers
Crowns and veneers are sometimes mixed up because they serve a similar purpose. Crowns and veneers are both typically made from porcelain, and both can conceal and strengthen the teeth. However, veneers are simply a thin sheet of porcelain that is cemented to the front of the tooth while the crown covers the whole tooth surface. Veneers are often used for the front teeth while crowns are best for middle and back teeth. The dentist can help each person determine which fits their needs best.
What do Crowns Look Like?
Crowns can vary widely in appearance, but they are most often matched to the color and shape of the natural tooth that is being covered. Crown materials may include porcelain, ceramic, acrylic, gold, and metal alloys. Metal crowns tend to be the strongest, but they don’t blend in with the natural teeth. In some cases, this issue is solved by bonding a porcelain crown to a metal shell to get both stability and beauty.
How Are Crowns Made?
The tooth needs to be slightly altered to prepare for the crown, so the dentist will remove a very small quantity of tooth enamel. This ensures that the crown will fit over the tooth well and that it won’t sit too high in the mouth. Once the tooth has been prepared, the dentist will make molds of the mouth. This type of mold is used to create a precisely fitting crown. While the dental lab is creating the new crown, the patient will wear a temporary crown to protect the tooth. When the new crown is installed, it is cemented into place.
The Lifespan of Crowns
Crowns can last for a patient’s whole life with good care. Patients should be sure to brush and floss daily. Non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste should be used to avoid scratching the surface of the crown. The crowns are checked during a regular dental check-up, and they are cleaned during a routine dental cleaning. As with natural teeth, patients shouldn’t chew on ice and should never chew on non-food items. If crowns ever get dislodged or become extremely worn, they can be replaced.
Ready to consider crowns? The team at Hancock Village Dental is here to help. We are a family owned and operated practice that puts our patients first. Call to arrange an appointment.