Dental crowns are prosthetic dental devices that replace or cover the portion of the natural tooth that lies above the gum line. When a crown is placed over a natural tooth, it encapsulates it for protection. Thus, crowns are commonly used after a severe incidence of dental decay, after a tooth has been damaged by substantial bite pressure a blow to the mouth and after invasive dental procedures, such as root canals.
Crowns are also used with tooth-replacement applications. Here are two tooth-replacement options that require dental crowns:
Dental crowns are used to help secure dental bridges into place.
A dental crown is a component of a dental bridge. For traditional bridges, a dental crown lies on each end the bridge. In the center of the device, the false tooth is positioned to replace the tooth that is missing. The dental crowns are cemented to teeth that will lie on each side the gap left after the tooth was lost.
Like other crowns that are placed over natural teeth, bridge crowns require that the underlying teeth be prepared before the crowns are placed. The dentist debrides the teeth so that the crowns fit easily into place, and the patient's natural dental alignment and bite are unaltered.
Bridge crowns are usually tooth-colored, so they are often made of porcelain-over-metal or porcelain. Resin is also a suitable tooth-colored crown material.
To ensure that the bridge looks natural, the color of the crown must be matched to the color of the patient's natural teeth. In addition, the shape and contours of the crown are usually formed using a mold of the patient's teeth so that the crowns fit the face and mouth of the patient just as a fully natural tooth would.
Crowns are also used for dental implants.
A crown used for an implant is generally the last component in the tooth restoration process. For the installation of a dental implant, a metal rod or screw must be drilled into the bone of the jaw. After the installed implant has had a chance to heal properly, becoming secure within the bone, the dentist can add an abutment or connector that permits the attachment a dental crown to the dental implant.
The dental crown is attached to the abutment to allow the patient to chew with the implant in place. In addition, since the crown is matched cosmetically to the patient's mouth, the appearance of the tooth replacement device is difficult to discern from the patient's other teeth.
To learn more about dental crowns and how they may be used to assist in your dental care, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your area.