Crowns are synthetic teeth-like coverings that are designed to make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance. They are necessary when a tooth is broken down and fillings are not able to solve the problem.
Sometimes called a cap, a crown covers and supports the tooth, protecting it from fracturing and concealing stained or damaged teeth. A crown can cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth left after a filling or root canal therapy.
Crowns also can be used to attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth form breaking or restore a tooth that has broken. They can be placed on natural teeth or dental implants.
|What are dental crowns?
Crowns are a type of dental restoration which, when cemented into place, fully cover over the portion of a tooth which lies at and above the gum line.
Why do teeth need dental crowns?
To restore a tooth to its original shape.
To strengthen a tooth.
To improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth.
The strengthening capability of dental crowns is related to the fact that they cover over and encase the tooth on which they are placed, thus serving as a splint which binds the tooth together. Dental crowns are a very important means by which a dentist can strengthen a tooth.
In contrast, dental fillings, especially large ones, often have a weakening effect on the teeth in which they are placed. Dental fillings rely on a tooth’s remaining structure to hold and support them. Fillings, in general, don’t strengthen a tooth and don’t protect a tooth from the forces generated by biting and chewing.
What are the consequences of not protecting a tooth with a dental crown?
It’s impossible to know precisely what the future holds for a tooth that seems to be a candidate for a dental crown.
๏ฟฝ The tooth will crack- In many cases unless a portion of your tooth has broken off you may not be aware that a crack has formed.
๏ฟฝ Cracked teeth can be sensitive while biting and chewing on hard foods.
What type of dental crown (“cap”) should you have made?
Dental crowns can be made from ceramic materials (porcelain), metal (gold), or a combination of both (porcelain fused to metal).
|All porcelain dental crowns are constructed in a manner where the entire crown is made of all porcelain. These crowns can possess a translucency that makes them the most similar to your natural teeth by being cosmetically pleasing when you smile.
|All metal crowns, such as gold crowns, can withstand biting and chewing forces well. Gold crowns probably have the greatest potential for lasting the longest because the wear rate is about the same as a person’s own tooth enamel.
|Porcelain fused to metal dental crowns are somewhat of a hybrid between all metal crowns and all porcelain crowns. They have the strength and durability of a metal crown but have the cosmetic appearance of an all porcelain crown.
How long do dental crowns last?
It would be reasonable to expect that a dental crown could last between five and twenty years.
Why do dental crowns need to be replaced?
|The formation of tooth decay- If dental plaque is allowed to accumulate on a tooth in the region where the crown and tooth meet, then the acid from the dental plaque can start a cavity to form below the edge of the crown.
|The dental crown becomes excessively worn- Dental crowns can wear out, especially in those cases where a person clenches and grinds their teeth excessively.
|The dental crown has worn out its welcome. Some dental crowns are replaced because, from a cosmetic standpoint, their appearance is no longer pleasing. In these cases it is not the color of the porcelain used to make the dental crown that has changed but instead the neighboring teeth have stained and darkened.
Also another issue is that as time passes the gum line of a tooth on which a dental crown has been placed will recede. If enough recession occurs the edge of the dental crown, which was originally tucked out of sight just under the gum line, will become visible and appear as a grey line.