A dental crown is a protective shell placed over a tooth. Crowns are generally used to cover and support decayed, damaged or fractured teeth while improving their form and appearance. The crown also prevents further damage to the tooth by wrapping it entirely.
They are used to correct problems like:
If your teeth are broken, they can be repaired using a crown. This is especially helpful for teeth that are large and strong enough to hold the restoration, as this type of treatment usually lasts longer than other restorations such as fillings.
Broken or chipped dentures
Crowns can also protect your natural or false teeth from breaking. If you have a chipped or broken denture, fixing it as soon as possible with a crown can prevent further damage and deterioration to your natural or false teeth. Chipped dentures are especially dangerous, as they can cut your gums and cheeks.
If you have a bridge that’s become cracked, you should also consider getting it replaced with a crown. Bridges are usually anchored to surrounding teeth by implants or tension wires. A broken bridge will need to be repaired immediately using a crown or other restoration.
If your teeth are discoloured, a crown can cover up the unsightly appearance and make them look as good as new. If you have gaps between your front teeth, a crown to close these spaces will give you a more uniform smile.
Treating tooth decay
Crowns are often used to cover up an old filling when the tooth decay has caused part of your tooth to break off. If you have a large cavity, the crown will also help protect weakened teeth from fracturing or decaying further, resulting in even more damage.
If you experience any tooth fracture, using a crown is key to keeping the rest of your tooth and supporting structures intact and functioning correctly. Fractures can be caused by trauma, such as a sports injury or violent accident. Another common cause is grinding and clenching your teeth over time (bruxism).
Types of Crowns
There are many different types of crowns available on the market, but not all of them are right for everyone. Your dentist will work with you to identify the best kind of crown that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Porcelain Dental Crowns
Porcelain fused to metal crowns is porous, allowing saliva and small food particles to be absorbed into the underlying tooth structure. This type of restoration is inexpensive but not as strong as other dental crowns. They also tend to darken and become stained over time.
Gold Dental Crowns
Ceramic crowns are made from an artificial material fitted over your natural teeth. They come in various shades, making it possible to match almost any other dental restorations you may have in your mouth (such as caps and veneers). They are the most durable type of crowns available.
Porcelain-Fused to Metal Dental Crowns
Porcelain fused to metal crowns is a combination of porcelain bonded to a metal alloy. They last for many years and are reasonably priced, but they do not look natural compared with other crowns. These crowns can also become stained in colour over time.
Zirconia crowns are made from an artificial material that offers excellent strength and longevity, but they also provide the ultimate in aesthetics. These types of crowns closely resemble your natural teeth and can be made to match the shade of the other restorations you may have in your mouth (such as caps and veneers).
Dental Crown Installation
A crown is installed by first preparing the tooth, removing any decay or damaged material, and then shaping it to receive the crown (cap). The tooth is then etched (scratched) to allow the porcelain to adhere. Once this has been completed, an impression is taken of the prepared tooth to make a temporary crown.
The temporary crown is a plastic version of the final crown and will cover the tooth until the permanent crown can be placed. Once this has been completed, you will be given instructions for caring for your mouth and how to care for the temporary crown that has been placed.
The next step involves taking an impression of the prepared tooth to create your permanent crown. This casting is sent to a lab that makes the porcelain version of the permanent crown. Once this has been completed, you will return to the office where your temporary crown is removed, and then your new porcelain crown is placed with an adhesive or cement for a proper bond.
Crowns are a great way to restore the health and beauty of your smile. They also help protect teeth from further damage, ensuring that you can chew and speak normally again. If you have a damaged or decayed tooth, contact your dentist.