Over time your teeth can get damaged. This may be due to poor oral health, injury, illness, general wear and tear or other factors. In many cases, even minor tooth damage can lead to additional issues like problems chewing, damage to gums or the tongue, increased likelihood of decay or even the shifting of other teeth.
One solution for damaged teeth is the use of dental crowns. A dental crown is a cap for a damaged tooth. It is designed to restore the shape, size, strength, look and feel of the natural tooth. The crown is cemented onto the existing tooth, covering up the damage and replacing the function of the damaged tooth.
When are crowns used?
Dental crowns are used for a variety of purposes. Some of these include:
- Protecting a weakened tooth
- Restoring a broken tooth or worn down tooth
- Covering and strengthening a tooth with a large filling
- Holding dental bridges in place
- Covering misshapen or discolored teeth
- Covering a dental implant
- Covering a tooth that’s been treated with a root canal
Types of dental crowns
There are several different types of crowns. A traditional crown will cover the entire tooth. Onlays or ¾ crowns can be used when there is still a solid tooth structure and are used when only smaller portions of the tooth need to be covered.
Crowns can be made of a number of different materials. These include metal, porcelain, resin and ceramic. Metal crowns tend to last the longest, but the metallic appearance is a downside and so are generally used only for crowning molars.
Resin crowns can be less expensive than other types, but they can be more prone to breaking and wearing down than other sturdier materials.
Ceramic or porcelain crowns provide the most natural looking replacement teeth. They are strong and great options for front teeth, but can cause wear to surround teeth over time.
What your dentist will consider?
When selecting the type of crown and the appropriate material, your dentist will consider a range of factors such as:
- The location of the tooth
- The health and function of the tooth requiring a crown
- The extent of the damage and the amount of natural tooth remaining
- How visible the tooth is
- The health of the surrounding gum tissue
- The color of the surrounding teeth
Dental crown care
Once the crown has been placed, it needs to be taken care of like you would any natural tooth. Careful attention to your crown can prolong its life.
A quality crown can be expected to last anywhere between 5 and 15 years depending on the type of crown and the care you give it.
When caring for a dental crown, there are a few things to remember:
- Be careful brushing. Brush regularly and carefully, which is something you should be doing anyway. Having a crown fitted can increase sensitivity, so it may be worth switching to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
- Beware of hard foods. Chewing hard foods might cause your crown to crack or detach.
- If you grind or clench your teeth at night, your dentist may recommend a night guard to protect your crown and surrounding teeth.
If you think dental crowns are right for you, contact your dentist today to find out more.