Modern technology has increased a dentist’s choices with new materials to restore cracked, decayed, worn, discolored or broken teeth. The trend is going away from the use of any metal in the mouth, to tooth colored ceramics.
Q: What is a crown?
A: A dental crown is a restoration which completely caps and covers a tooth. They are used to improve the form, function, strength and appearance of a damaged tooth or to cover a dental implant. Crowns originally were made of all gold. Technology in the 1960s and 1970s gave us porcelain covered gold crowns and all porcelain crowns. This improved cosmetics, but porcelain is not as durable as a natural tooth or solid metal. Twenty-first century CAD/CAM (3D Printer) technology has developed a chip proof solid all-ceramic crown. Computers are utilized to design and mill by machine these restorations from a solid block of ceramic. These meet the dentist’s requirements for fit and high-strength, your desire of being tooth colored. There is no metal sensitivity or allergies with these ceramics.
Q: How can I have a broken tooth repaired to look like my original tooth?
A: A Dentist is responsible for a thorough examination and proper diagnosis to determine the best treatment for the patient, evaluate the benefits versus the risk and determine which treatments are necessary. Fillings are designed to go inside a tooth. Worn, broken and cracked teeth, weakened teeth with large restorations with excessive decay may not leave enough healthy tooth structure to support a replacement filling. Root canaled teeth need crown coverage to protect against tooth breakage. Crowns are needed to restore the tooth back to its original size and shape, so it can function. There are many choices using the new materials developed over the past two decades.
Q: How long will the tooth restored with a crown last?
A: With an indestructible crown covering the tooth, expectation is for many years. Proper maintenance is important to prevent decay around the crown. Like any tooth the tissue around it can get gum disease.
Dental crowns are one of many choices in restoring your teeth back to proper function. The decision about how to restore teeth is determined between the patient and dentist.