Crowns are used in the restoration of severely broken down or esthetically compromised teeth. They are made of a materials, such as, porcelain, precious metals or both, and are placed over the remaining tooth structure.
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 an existing filling is in jeopardy of becoming loose or dislocated. Crowns also serve an aesthetic use, and are applied when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.
A tooth must usually be reduced in size to accommodate a crown. The existing tooth is prepared for a crown and an impression is made. A replica of the tooth is made from the impression. A custom-designed crown is then made to match the shade (color) of the adjacent teeth and to bite properly against the opposing teeth. A temporary crown will be made until the permanent crown is ready. Then, the final crown(s) are cemented in place.
Crowns are sometimes confused with veneers, but they are quite different. Veneers are typically applied only to relatively small areas of the tooth for cosmetic purposes.
Caring For Your Crowns
With proper care, a good quality crown could last up to eight years or longer. It is very important to brush and floss 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. Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown.