Crowns are synthetic caps, usually made of a material like porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth.
Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth’s function and appearance following a restorative procedure such as a root canal. When decay in a tooth has become so advanced that large portions of the tooth must be removed, crowns are often used to restore the tooth.
Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, prevent a cracked tooth from becoming worse, or an existing filling is in jeopardy of becoming loose or dislocated. Crowns also serve an aesthetic use, and are applied when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.
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Dental Crown Procedure
Dental bonding is an option that can be considered:
- To repair decayed teeth (composite resins are used to fill cavities)
- To repair chipped or cracked teeth
- To improve the appearance of discolored teeth
- To close spaces between teeth
- To make teeth look longer
- To change the shape of teeth
- As a cosmetic alternative to amalgam fillings
- To protect a portion of the tooth’s root that has been exposed when gums recede
Why Is A Dental Crown Needed?
A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshapened or severely discolored teeth
- To cover a dental implant
- To make a cosmetic modification
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
On average, dental crowns last between five and 15 years. The life span of a crown depends on the amount of “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to, how well you follow good oral hygiene practices, and your personal mouth-related habits (you should avoid such habits as grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting fingernails, and using your teeth to open packaging).
Does a Crowned Tooth Require Special Care?
While a crowned tooth does not require any special care, remember that because a tooth is crowned does not mean the tooth is protected from decay or gum disease. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth, and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash at least once a day.
Adequate & Appropriate Restoration of Tooth Structure
As crowns are fabricated indirectly (outside of the mouth) free of the encumbrances of saliva, blood, and tight quarters, they can be made to fit more precisely than restorative materials placed directly (inside the mouth). With regard to marginal adaptations (the circumferential seal which keeps bacteria out), anatomically correct contacts (touching adjacent teeth properly so food will not be retained), and proper morphology, the indirect fabrication of the restorations are unprecedented. Indirectly fabricated crowns may be fabricated one of two ways. In the traditional sense, the tooth in question is prepared, a mold is taken, a temporary crown is placed and then the patient leaves. The mold is then sent to a dental laboratory whereby a model is constructed from the mold, and a crown is created on the model (usually out of porcelain, ceramic, gold, or porcelain/ceramic fused to metal) to replace the missing tooth structure. The patient returns to the dental office a week or two later and then the temporary is removed and the crown is fitted and cemented in place. Alternatively, a crown may be indirectly fabricated utilizing technology and techniques relating to CAD/CAM dentistry, whereby the tooth is prepared and computer software is used to create a virtual restoration which is milled on the spot and bonded permanently in place an hour or two later.