A crown, also known as ”cap”, is a tooth-like covering placed over a carefully prepared existing tooth. It strengthens, restores or improves the appearance of a tooth. It covers the entire visible part of a teeth to protect it the way a full face helmet protects a head. It is most commonly used when there is no longer sufficient tooth structure left to place a filling.
How do you benefit from a dental crown?
Crowns are used to strengthen a tooth and repair badly decayed, broken, severely discolored, misaligned teeth or root treated teeth. Crowns may also be used to protect the structure of a tooth that is fractured or broken. Crowns completely cover teeth, restoring them to their natural color, size, shape, and function. The location of the crown in the mouth usually dictates the type of material used. Crowns have a much longer life span than bonding, resist stains better, hold their color and resist chipping and cracking. Crowns, however, take longer to prepare than bonding and are not reversible.
Inlays and onlays are similar to a partial crown, most often made of porcelain. An inlay substitutes for a filling, while on onlay covers more than just the tooth’s surface. An onlay usually replaces a filling and covers one or more of the tips of the tooth.
Dental crowns last between 5 and 15 years. The life span of a crown depends on the amount of wear and tear the crown is exposed to, how well you follow good oral hygiene practices, and your personal mouth-related habits. Grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting your fingernails and using your teeth to hold objects should be avoided.
The tooth is reduced in size to allow it to be crowned. After the tooth is prepared, a temporary crown is placed on the tooth while the crown is fabricated in the lab. If the tooth is severely decayed, little tooth structure remains or after root canal treatment for the back tooth, it may be necessary to place a metal post into the tooth to support the crown. If this is the case, root canal therapy will be performed. Once the crown returns, it is permanently cemented over the reduced tooth.