What are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are artificial teeth or caps shaped like teeth. They are a very important part of maintaining a patient’s dental health when they have a damaged or missing tooth.
Crowns can replace a missing tooth when they are used as part of dentures, bridges, or dental implants. Alternatively, crowns can be used as part of a dental restoration. Crowns can cap a damaged tooth, preventing it from falling apart or protecting it from further damage.
Crowns can be made of many different materials, depending on the location of the crown and the purpose it serves. Dental crown materials can include stainless steel, metals such as cast gold, porcelain, ceramic, zirconium, or porcelain fused to metal. Each type of crown has distinct advantages and disadvantages. For example, metal crowns are usually the strongest and the most resistant to wear, but they are typically reserved for back teeth because of their unnatural appearance. Ceramic or porcelain crowns are not as strong as metal crowns, but because they provide a lifelike appearance, they are most often used when the crown will be readily apparent.
When the crown serves as a cap to cover a damaged tooth, the dental crown procedure includes carefully cleaning the affected tooth and drilling out any decayed areas. Then, the dentist applies dental adhesive over the tooth and places the crown on top. After the adhesive dries, the patient can enjoy their new smile.
If the crown is used as part of a bridge, the dentist will first take casts of the other teeth to help the dental laboratory design a crown that matches. Then, she will file down the teeth adjacent to the bridge. She will then place the bridge, and affix it to the adjacent teeth. When the bridge is securely in place, the dentist will place caps over the adjacent teeth to protect them from damage and to hold the bridge in place.
Dental implants are among the newest ways to use a crown. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is made of a metal like titanium. The root is implanted into the jaw bone, and the bone is allowed to heal around it. Finally, the dentist caps the implant with a crown that has been custom designed to match the rest of the patient’s teeth in shape and color.
Once applied, crowns can last for as long as 20 years if they are cared for correctly. To care for a dental crown, you only need to brush and floss around it just as you would your natural tooth. A dentist should check it for damage as part of your routine checkup every six months to one year.