From time to time, everyone is going to have a tooth that is damaged, weak, unsightly, or otherwise in trouble to the degree that a dentist needs to step in and sort it out. When this becomes the case, your dentist is likely going to know what the best procedure is that you should undergo. There are many out there, but one which is often particularly common and which can be a very useful solution indeed in many cases is that of the dental crown. A crown is essentially like a cap that is placed over a tooth to help protect it and improve its appearance. But who needs them, when do they need them, and what’s involved in getting one? Let’s take a look in a little more detail.
What Is A Crown?
As we have already briefly suggested, a dental crown is simply a kind of cap that is placed over a tooth for means of protection and aesthetic concern. Often, having a crown installed allows the tooth underneath it to heal, or at least to avoid further damage if it is already damaged in any way. Once the crown is cemented into place, it will fully encase the entire visible part of the tooth – the whole of the part, in other words, that sits above the gumline. As you can imagine, this is a very useful type of procedure to have in many cases, and one which you might have to have done at some point in your life. If done at the right time, it is a great protective procedure which can help you to avoid losing the tooth on many occasions, and promote general overall dental health.
When Is One Needed?
Generally, you will be looking to have a dental crown because you have a single tooth which is in some way or another in trouble. There are a range of situations that a crown can help with here, including some of those listed below.
- If you have a tooth that is weak, for example because it is greatly decayed, then a crown can be used to protect it from further decay, and stop it breaking apart in the long run. Essentially, it encases the tooth and stops it from breaking up.
- A crown can also be used to hold together different parts of a tooth that might be cracking up.
- If you have a tooth that is already broken, then a crown can often help to restore it back to its original state, or as near to its original state as is possible.
- Sometimes, a tooth that has a large filling needs a covering, especially when there isn’t much of the actual tooth left, and in those cases a crown is going to be the best way to go a lot of the time in order to keep protecting that tooth.
- If you need a dental bridge installed, then a crown is often used to help hold it in place.
- Sometimes, the use of a crown is purely cosmetic. For example, you might have a tooth that is severely discoloured, or which is misshapen in some way, and you want to cover it – a crown can be an ideal way to do just that.
- Dental implants – fake teeth which are rooted in to the bone structure to replace real teeth – often require crowns as coverings.
- Or you might want to make any other kind of cosmetic improvement, and a crown can often be the best way to do that.
Types Of Crown
So it should be clear just what a crown is used for and why you might want to have one. But there are many types of crown, and understanding that will help you to get to the bottom of what you are likely going to need. Of course, your dentist will be able to inform you of what kind of crown is probably best in your case.
- Stainless Steel. This is a common type of crown, which is generally used on permanent teeth as a temporary measure. Essentially, this is used to protect the tooth in question for a short while, while the permanent crown is being made – as that can often take a matter of weeks. Or in children, a stainless steel crown is often used over a primary tooth to protect it. Stainless steel crowns don’t require multiple visits to the dentist, making them more cost-effective. This is why they are often used for children.
- Metals. There are a range of metals that are used in crowns, most commonly alloys that have a lot of gold or platinum in them, owing to the strength of these materials. Or you might find that you have a crown with a base-metal alloys, such as cobalt-chromium and nickel-chromium. The great thing about strong metal crowns is that they withstand a lot of biting and chewing, and have a great shelf-life. They also very rarely chip or break apart, so that is one worry you don’t have to think about. However, they do appear to look like metal, which means that many people prefer this option for teeth which are out of sight, like molars.
- Porcelain. For anyone who wants to have a crown which looks the same as their other teeth, porcelain crowns are usually the way to go. These are coloured to look the same as surrounding teeth, so are a great option for front teeth in particular. It is a more expensive crown, and more wearing occurs as a result of not being made of pure metal.
- All-Resin. This is an inexpensive type of crown, but more prone to fractures and wearing down faster.
You need to bear in mind that a crown has to be taken care of in the same way as the rest of your teeth. As long as you remember that, you should find that you can keep it for a long time – and in the case of some crowns, forever. But you do need to take care.