Dental Crowns: Giving Teeth a Longer Life
A dental crown is a treatment that allows us to prolong the life of a tooth that would otherwise break and need to be removed. A crown is sometimes called a “cap”. That’s because it actually fits on top of a “prepared” broken down tooth. Once the crown is permanently cemented, it returns the damaged tooth to normal appearance, form, and function. It provides excellent strength and beauty.
When is a crown is needed?
To protect a cracked or weak tooth
Sometimes a teeth crack. It doesn’t always happen at once. If the tooth cracks between the cusps then every bite can cause pain. The tooth will show up normally on the x-rays but the tooth won’t feel right. A crown will support the cusps of the tooth and cause much needed comfort. It will prevent the crack from spreading and save you from a root canal.
To fix a worn tooth
Stress is bad for your health and your teeth. Stress and teeth grinding go hand and hand. If it goes on long enough it can cause real damage to the teeth. Sometimes the only way to fix a worn tooth is with a crown. The crown will prevent any further damage from grinding and will make it look perfect.
To fix a broken tooth
Teeth break. You’re having a meal and while chewing you hear a crack and big chunk of tooth breaks off. Don’t worry. Many times we can fix that tooth up as good as new with a simple crown.
For cosmetic reasons
When a tooth is misshaped or hopelessly stained it is possible to correct it with a crown. It is preferable to treat these problems with more conservative treatments but sometimes a crown is an appropriate treatment.
Following a root canal
A root canal removes the blood supply to a tooth. Over time it becomes brittle and weak. Without a crown the tooth inevitably breaks and many times will need to be removed. The only logical plan is to place a crown on the tooth directly following the root canal.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a treatment to replace a missing tooth. A bridge is when a crown is placed on the tooth in front and behind the missing tooth. Connected to the two crowns is a false tooth, or “pontic”, which bridges the space between the two crowns. It looks just like a natural tooth and functions perfectly as well.
There are downsides. You will not be able to floss normally between the bridge and it does require shaving down, or “prepping” of the teeth in front and back. While the gold standard of care for a tooth is an implant. There are cases where a bridge is preferable.