Do you have a tooth that is significantly damaged by decay, wear, or trauma? You might think that tooth will never be able to look and function like a healthy tooth again, but dental crowns can do wonders. A dental crown can take an unattractive and unhealthy tooth and make it attractive and functional again. Dental crowns can even be used to make dental implants look like natural teeth.
What Dental Crowns Can Do
Dental crowns are used whenever a tooth or restoration needs significant repair or support. Some of the common situations where dental crowns are used include:
- Heavily decayed tooth
- Badly cracked tooth
- Root canal
- Covering or reshaping teeth when dental veneers aren’t enough
- Support for dental bridge
- Topping a dental implant
- Adjusting bite as part of TMJ treatment
When a tooth has been weakened by decay–or by a large metal amalgam filling–it may be vulnerable to further damage that can lead to failure. To protect the tooth a dental crown is used.
Damage to a tooth is described as a crack rather than a chip when structurally significant damage has been done. Cracked teeth are vulnerable and benefit from protection with a dental crown.
When decay or a tooth crack has penetrated to the pulp chamber of a tooth, the interior of the tooth is exposed to infectious bacteria. To prevent further development of infection, a root canal is performed, and a dental crown is used to protect the treated tooth.
Sometimes dental crowns are used for cosmetic purposes. They may be used to conceal discolored teeth or reshape a small or poorly formed tooth like a retained baby tooth or peg lateral when dental veneers don’t cover enough or provide enough strength.
A dental bridge is a permanently bonded tooth replacement that is supported by your natural teeth. Dental crowns on your natural teeth are attached to the replacement tooth and bonded over the supporting teeth.
Technically, dental implant is only the metal root that is secured inside your jawbone. In order for a dental implant to look attractive, it needs to have a dental crown on top.
Dental crowns are strong enough that they can alter your bite. In the hands of many dentists, this can actually damage your bite, leading to many problems. In the hands of a neuromuscular dentist, they can alter your bite in a positive way, helping to treat TMJ and other bite problems.
Placing Dental Crowns
The process for placing dental crowns is relatively simple.
First, we will assess your tooth to see if a dental crown is really the right treatment. Sometimes, you may have been told that you need a dental crown, but it may not be necessary. We want to preserve as much of your natural tooth material as possible, so whenever we can avoid placing a dental crown, we will recommend a less invasive treatment. We will also assess whether a tooth should be saved or if it should be extracted.
Next, we will prepare your tooth to receive the dental crown. This involves reshaping your tooth so that the dental crown will fit and be adequately supported. We will take impressions both before and after your tooth preparation to ensure we get a properly fitted crown. Then you will be fitted with a temporary crown.
The impressions and other notes will be sent to the dental lab so they can prepare your dental crown. When your crown is ready, you will come back into the office and we will fit your new dental crown.
How Your Dentist makes a Difference for Your Dental Crown
If you think you need a dental crown, make sure you choose your dentist carefully. Your choice of dentist will affect how the tooth is prepared for the crown, how well the crown is fitted, whether the crown interferes with your natural bite, and how attractive your crown looks. It will also determine what options you have for your dental crown, such as metal crowns, porcelain fused to metal, or fully ceramic crowns.
Dr. Nelson Clements is a highly skilled and experienced cosmetic dentist in Valdosta, GA. He values the appearance of your teeth as much as their function. And he is trained in neuromuscular dentistry, which can help him ensure your dental crown fits in with your bite.