What is a crown?
A crown covers the entire visible portion of the damaged tooth. They are also used as anchors (abutments) for bridges, placed on the teeth on each side of the gap. Porcelain Crowns (also called caps) are artificial but natural-looking covers that fit snugly over your teeth. They may be used to conceal cracked, badly discolored, injured, or chipped teeth.
At one time, crowns were often referred to as “caps.” This was when they were primarily made of gold alloy. Crowns are fabricated in a dental lab based off of impressions taken by the dentist after some of the natural tooth is removed to make room for the overlying crown. While some dentists use crowns made from various materials, Dr. Green generally provides ceramic crowns; he believes they provide the best combination of strength and appearance.
When a tooth becomes weakened to the point that it can’t safely hold a filling, or if a tooth is cracked, chipped, or fractured, a ceramic crown can return its strength and appearance. The crown saves the tooth, eliminating the need for extraction and a replacement such as an implant.
Benefits of Crowns
- Repairing fractures
- Repair cracked or chipped teeth
- Restore discoloration
- Prevention of further tooth damage
- Feel and look natural
- Restores functionality
Why are crowns better?
As the name suggests, a crown fits over the entire area of the tooth above the gum line, restoring the original size and shape of the tooth, and more importantly, giving it strength. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials: gold alloy, dental composite, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or ceramic. Dr. Green prefers to use all ceramic crowns. Ceramic crowns provide the perfect combination of strength and appearance. With proper care, a porcelain crown can last for decades, and because porcelain allows the light to reflect in a manner similar to your natural tooth enamel they are aesthetically superior. Plus, fully porcelain crowns don’t include mercury or other toxic metals.
Dental crowns are similar in shape and shade to dental veneers except that crowns cover all the surfaces of a tooth whereas veneers only cover the visible outside surface of the tooth.
When are Dental Crowns used?
A large part of a tooth has fractured and the rest of the tooth is at risk of further fracture, a dental crown can protect the remaining part of the tooth from fracture. A significant part of a tooth is lost to dental decay and there is a risk that if a filling is used to restore the tooth, the filling could come out or fracture. Crowns are a lot stronger than fillings and better able to protect against tooth fracture.
During root canal treatment, a large portion of the tooth is removed and the remaining tooth tissue can fracture and discolor after root canal treatment. A crown can increase the success rate of a root canal treated tooth and protect the structure of the tooth and increase its longevity and its aesthetics.
Crowns correct the following:
- Chipped teeth
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Teeth with large fillings
- Severely worn teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Severely discolored teeth
- Teeth that have had a root canal
- Teeth with fractured fillings
- The teeth on both sides of a bridge
What to expect during your procedure
Placing a crown consists of 2 appointments, one to prepare the tooth, take impressions, and prepare a comfortable, esthetic temporary for you to wear while the lab is hand designing your crown. The second appointment involves removing this temporary, adjusting the newly designed crown to comfort and then cementing onto the tooth preparation.
Before and After
Do I need to provide special care for my crown?
Your beautiful new crown requires no special care, just attentive brushing and flossing every day. If you remove plaque and food debris from your teeth, your crown will last for a long time.
How long do porcelain crowns last?
Porcelain crowns can last for decades, but their endurance is often tied directly to your home hygiene. After all, the porcelain won’t decay, but the tooth underneath it still can. Other bad habits such as chewing ice and biting your fingernails can shorten the lifespan of a crown.