What Are Dental Crowns?
The crown of a tooth is the part visible above the gum line — the part we bite and chew with. When the crown becomes chipped or cracked, it’s important to treat it with a restoration. This restoration is known simply as a dental crown.
If a tooth is chipped or cracked, placing pressure on it by biting and chewing can make the damage worse. If the tooth isn’t repaired with a crown fast enough, it can actually lead to the tooth breaking. Chipped and damaged teeth are more susceptible to root canal infections, requiring root canal therapy to treat. In worst case scenarios, the tooth can become so diseased or damaged that it needs to be removed.
When Would I Need a Dental Crown?
There are a few situations where a crown is needed. These included:
A tooth can become chipped or cracked for a variety of reasons, the most common being some sort of physical trauma. Teeth can also become damaged when a person chews too much using just one side of their jaw, which is common when people suffer toothache (such as when their tooth is damaged). In this way, a single damaged tooth can actually lead to several teeth becoming damaged over time.
During a root canal procedure, a small hole must be drilled into the tooth to allow the infected material within to be cleared out. A crown is used to ensure this hole doesn’t end up turning into a crack that breaks the tooth, and prevents reinfection.
A dental implant is a way of replacing a whole tooth once it’s been extracted. The implant itself actually replaces the root of a missing a tooth. This is then used to anchor a restoration on top. In the case of replacing just a single missing tooth, this is achieved by attaching a dental crown to the implant.
Materials Used in Dental Crowns
Dental crowns can be made out of a variety of materials. The most common are porcelain and dental composite, although other materials like gold and other metals are also used.
Porcelain is generally the best option, as it most closely resembles teeth and is a very durable substance. Gold is longer-lasting than porcelain in many cases, but correspondingly more expensive.
Dental composite is a type of resin that can actually be shaped and set in a single sitting at the dentist’s office. It’s the cheapest, fastest option, but also the least durable. Dental composite is often used for temporary restorations while more permanent solutions like porcelain and gold are fabricated in a lab.