WHAT ARE DENTAL CROWNS?
Dental Crowns are synthetic caps, usually made of a material like porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth. Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth’s function and appearance following a restorative procedure such as a root canal. When decay in a tooth has become so advanced that large portions of the tooth must be removed, crowns are often used to restore the tooth.
Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, prevent a cracked tooth from becoming worse, or protect an existing filling from becoming loose or dislocated. Dental crowns also serve an aesthetic use: they are applied when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.
DENTAL CROWN PROCEDURES
To accommodate a crown, usually a tooth must be reduced in size. An impression is made of the existing tooth and is sent to a special lab, which manufactures a custom-designed crown. In some cases, a temporary crown is applied until the permanent crown is ready.
Permanent crowns are cemented in place. Crowns are sometimes confused with veneers, but they are quite different. Typically veneers are applied to relatively small areas only.
CARING FOR YOUR TOOTH CROWNS
With proper care, a good quality tooth crown could last up to eight years or longer. It is very important to floss in the area of the crown to avoid excess plaque or collection of debris around the restoration. Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) significantly shorten the life of a crown and can cause pain around the dental crown.
Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown to your teeth and risk damaging the crown. To maximize the longevity of your crown, try to avoid these foods and consult with your dentist if you notice any clenching or grinding behaviors to determine preventative measures to help.