If all our teeth were properly formed and arranged, we’d have a lot less fuss with our teeth. The reality is that for most of us, things go wrong with our teeth for reasons such as wear and tear, disease, trauma, heredity, diet, etc. When such things affect the building blocks of our smiles, dental restorations such as crowns can restore the useful function, toughness, and appearance of lost or heavily weakened or damaged tooth structure. At Stadium Dental Center in Jefferson City, MO, we want you to know your options when it comes to crowns.
What is a crown?
A crown covers (or “caps”) the visible part of a tooth to restore its ideal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of the tooth. People often ask, “Can you just fill the tooth instead of using a crown?” in order to save time and money. Fillings work dependably when enough sides of a tooth are present and strong enough to retain the filling material. When the sides of the tooth are lost or badly weakened, a crown is the longest lasting solution to restoring a tooth to useful function. Crowns can protect weak teeth from fracturing and prevent a cracked tooth from greater damage. They also correct discolored or misshapen teeth for a more visually pleasing smile.
What’s involved in having a crown made?
Receiving a crown usually spans two dental visits in our Jefferson City dentist office. During the first visit we do an examination of the tooth to see how it should be restored and shape the tooth for the crown. If the tooth lacks sides with enough height, a core build-up (sometimes including a post), is done to ensure the crown stays securely on the tooth during normal use. A provisional crown is produced and temporarily cemented on after making an impression or mold of the tooth for the laboratory. Next comes the insertion of the final crown, produced in a laboratory, a couple of weeks later.
What’s a post and core build-up?
We add a filling material to create a more ideal shape for supporting and retaining a crown (core build-up) when decay or fracture shortens or weakens the tooth’s sides. When much of the visible portion of the tooth is missing, a root canal treatment may be recommended to allow use of a small peg or post within the root to retain the buildup supporting the crown.
Will a crown look natural?
It can, depending on the type of crown you choose to have made. A crown can be fabricated from ceramic, from precious metal, or from a combination of ceramic and metal. A ceramic crown can look so much like a natural tooth you’d swear it was the ‘real thing’. The material chosen for your crown depends on location, visibility, wear patterns on the teeth, underlying color, and perhaps other factors, too.
How should I take care of my crown?
Crowns are very tough and durable, but they’re not completely indestructible, so it’s wise to avoid chewing extremely hard foods and ice. Grinding or clenching your teeth can damage either crowns or the teeth they oppose. It’s always advisable to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit our Jefferson City dentist office regularly for checkups and hygiene treatment. If you’ve invested in a crown, you want to protect that investment!