You probably think of dentistry as a science, or a type of medical treatment, but the fact is that dentistry is also an art. A great example of this is dental crowns. Crowns are a covering or a cap that fits over a tooth that’s decayed, damaged, or otherwise unattractive – you could think of your crown as an attractive hat that hides something that isn’t all that pretty.
What Does a Crown Do?
A crown covers teeth above the gum line. It’s different from a veneer – veneers cover only the front surface of the teeth, and veneers need a natural tooth to be in place in order to support the veneer. A crown, on the other hand, covers and strengthens the natural tooth, and does not require a tooth to be in place. In fact, a significant amount of natural tooth can be missing, and a crown is still possible.
Crowns strengthen teeth that are in place, and allow them to function normally. Even when teeth are damaged below the gum line, a crown is still a possibility for restoration. When put in place, a crown will strengthen the damaged teeth so that you can chew normally. Additionally, your teeth will appear the same way that they always did.
What Materials are Used?
Usually, porcelain is used to create crowns. Crowns can also be made from cased gold, and porcelain that is fused to metal for a natural appearance. There are several options available, and we’d be happy to discuss them with you.
How Long Does It Take?
Usually, crowning will require two or three visits. First, we prepare the tooth to receive the crown. Then we shape it. Some drilling will be required, but we’ll numb the tooth so that you won’t be in any discomfort.
Once we’ve prepared the tooth, we’ll take impressions of your teeth and send them off to a dental lab. The impressions that we take show the skilled lab technicians how to create your crown so that you’ll be able to chew properly, and so that your smile will be preserved.
Rest assured that we won’t allow you to leave our office without a beautiful smile – we’ll fit you with a temporary crown that will serve you until your permanent crown is created. When you come back, we’ll fit you with the permanent crown.
If you have several missing teeth, we can create a bridge for you. This consists of creating artificial, lifelike teeth that replace the ones you lost. How many new teeth you need will, of course, depend on how many you’ve lost. The missing teeth will be attached to abutment teeth that remain in your mouth. Just as an example, if you’re missing three teeth, then you might need to attach the new, synthetic teeth to four abutment teeth, making a seven-tooth bridge. It’s both simpler and more complicated than it sounds. Simple – we replace the teeth. Complicated – we engineer and design a bridge for you that works with your underlying bone tissue and gums.
Looking After Your Crowns and Bridge Work
This is where it gets easier. All you have to know, really, when it comes to taking care of your crowns and bridge work, is that you should treat them the same way you did your natural teeth. Brush daily to reduce plaque buildup. Make sure you have regular cleanings. And please (we shouldn’t have to tell you this!) don’t grind your teeth or use them to open packages. You want to protect your crowns and bridge work the same way you did your original teeth, especially since you’ve just made a sizable investment in them.
Text Copyright © 2015 Louis K. Cheung DDS PS – All rights reserved. Images used under license from Dear Doctor, Inc.