A dental crown is a ceramic cap that is cemented over an existing tooth to repair damage or to restore its cosmetic appearance. It is most commonly used to cap teeth that have been filled or to protect teeth broken as the result of a head trauma.
There are many ways a tooth can be damaged. Sporting injuries account for up to 50 per cent of dental injuries. Dentists advise wearing a mouth guard when playing any sport with a high level of physical contact or that can involve any kind of collision. However it is still common for teeth to be chipped, cracked or broken when playing sport. Teeth are also commonly damaged in motor vehicle accidents or from simply accidentally chewing on hard food. Damage to teeth will initially be repaired with composite dental bonding. This tooth coloured resin is used to fill cracks and repair chips but it can itself be susceptible to damage. Dentists therefore often use a dental crown to sit over the damaged tooth to protect it from further injury.
Dental crowns are also used to protect teeth that have had cavity fillings. This is especially true of teeth with large cavities as dental bonding, used as a filling material, is weaker in large areas. Crowns are also used to protect teeth that have been subject to a root canal procedure. This is when an infected tooth has been hollowed to remove the infection. A dental crown is the last step in a complex process designed to preserve the functionality of the patient’s original tooth and prevent extraction.
Dental crowns are commonly manufactured from porcelain, a type of ceramic with a similar consistency and appearance to tooth enamel. Modern crowns are increasingly fabricated using the latest computer-aided technology. Using 3D imaging and digital x-rays dentists can construct images of the patients’ teeth on a computer. They can then use this information to manufacture a dental crown by milling it from a single piece of porcelain in as little as six minutes. This new technology has reduced treatment time for patients and improved the accuracy of treatment.
Dental crowns are very versatile and useful dental tools that can prevent the need for further treatment.With proper oral care dental crowns are known to endure the wear and tear for several years and come very cheap when compared to implants. Patients with damaged teeth should make an appointment with their dentist to discuss the benefits of dental crowns.