Dental crowns are a versatile treatment option. Crowns can be used to help save a tooth that is suffering from damage and decay. They can also be used simply for cosmetic alterations for a tooth that is cracked or discolored. All in all, crowns are an important tool to save your teeth and fix your smile.
What is a crown and why do I need one?
In the words of Dr. Marc, “A crown, sometimes called a cap, is something made to cover a tooth to protect it or to alter its size, shape, and/or color. If you broke a tooth, it might need a crown made for it to prevent more of it from breaking. A crown generally will look and be shaped as much as possible like your natural tooth. They can be made out of gold, a silver material, or a tooth colored material. These days, they are very strong and very aesthetic looking. When it comes to crowns and fillings; the bigger the filling, the weaker the tooth. The weaker the tooth, the more likely you will break that tooth. The bigger the filling is, the great the reason for covering that tooth with a crown to prevent it from breaking.”
How is a dental crown placed?
If there is any decay or if the tooth is broken, this is repaired first. We must build a good, strong, solid foundation. Think about building a skyscraper. If the foundation is bad, it doesn’t matter how good the building is, it will fail and come down. Think of the gums, the bone, and the tooth as the foundation for the crown. If these are good and healthy, then we can make a good, strong crown that should last for many moons. So, with the decay removed and the tooth filled, it is then shaped for the crown. The tooth is reduced in size by about the width of a pencil lead, all the way around it. Think about this: If we try to cover the tooth with something without making room for it to fit, the tooth/crown will be too big. This will throw off your bite among other things. So, the tooth is reduced in size to allow room for the crown to go. Impressions are then made of it, or possibly, digital scans are made of it. The proper shade of your tooth is selected. This information then goes off to a laboratory where the crown will be made according to what is required for your individual case. In the meantime, your tooth will be covered by an interim crown. This generally is made out of plastic and held in place by a temporary cement. When the crown is returned from the lab, you will come back in to have it cemented onto your tooth.
How long do crowns last?
Crowns can last a long time. Or not. Just because you have a crown on a tooth does not mean that you can slack off and not keep it clean. Decay can still occur. The weak link in anything that we do is the junction between the tooth and the dental material, whether that be filling material or crown material. If you don’t keep things clean, decay WILL occur. The materials today look good and are very strong. Does this mean unbreakable? NO!! Although it is not likely that your new crown will break, things do happen that are beyond our control. It is still possible to have the need for a root canal treatment after a crown is made. Gum problems can still occur. You can break your tooth within the crown. Be careful. Keep everything clean.
Dental crowns are a great restorative and cosmetic option. They can help your tooth look and function as good as new. If you think that you could benefit from a dental crown, or just want to learn more, give our office a call at (614)-475-7228.