The crown of your tooth is the part that’s visible above the gum line. It’s the bit you use to bite and chew. Predictably, this is the part of the tooth under the most stress. Over time, the chance of a tooth chipping or cracking increases. When it happens, an artificial dental crown can be made to restore the tooth to good health.
What are dental crowns?
Dental crowns are a restorative treatment that covers the surface of a tooth. A simple way to think of them is as a helmet for your tooth.
Dental crowns are typically used when a tooth is badly cracked or broken. The crown sits over the tooth and restores its function and stability, allowing you to use it again without pain and discomfort. Crowns also prevent further damage by protecting teeth from worsening chips and breakages.
What are dental crowns made of?
Dental crowns can be made out of many materials. Porcelain is popular because of how closely it matched tooth enamel in appearance. Dental composite resin is a cheap, fast alternative ideal for temporary crowns or for those who cannot afford other materials. Gold is also a popular choice for dental crowns. Although it’s often seen as “blingy”, gold is actually a very effective material for crowns. It’s the most durable material available and will last many decades if cared for properly.
How are dental crowns applied?
If dental composite is being used, the composite resin is applied directly to the tooth as a paste. The dentist shapes the resin into the desired form and hardens it in place with a heating light.
For other materials, there are a few more steps. First, the outer layers of the tooth are shaved away to make room for the crown. An impression is then taken and sent to a dental laboratory. There, the restoration is fabricated out of the desired material — porcelain, gold, etc.
Once the restoration is made it will be fit back onto the tooth. Adjustments are made if necessary, and then the crown is bonded to the tooth.
When are dental crowns used?
Commonly, dental crowns are used when a tooth is badly cracked or broken to restore them to a functional level.
Dental crowns can also be used as part of a dental implant restoration to replace the crown of a tooth. The dental implant replaces the root of the tooth below the gum, while the crown replaces the tooth above the gum.
Finally, dental crowns are also often used after root canal therapy, to restore the tooth after it has been drilled into.