Crowns are a type of dental restoration which cover the portion of a tooth which lies at and above the gum line. In comparison, fillings are dental restorations that are used to fill in or cover over just a portion of a tooth. Since dental crowns encase the entire visible aspect of a tooth, a dental crown in effect becomes the tooth's new outer surface.
Crowns can be made out of porcelain (or some other ceramic material), gold (or metal alloys), or a combination of both. Dental crowns are often referred to as "dental caps".
What are crowns?
A crown is a restoration that covers, or "caps," a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of a tooth. Crowns are necessary when a tooth is generally broken down and fillings won't solve the problem. If a tooth is cracked, a crown holds the tooth together to seal the cracks so the damage doesn't get worse. Crowns are also used to support a large filling when there isn't enough of the tooth remaining, attach a bridge, protect weak teeth from fracturing, restore fractured teeth, or cover badly shaped or discolored teeth.
How is a crown placed?
To prepare the tooth for a crown, it is reduced so the crown can fit over it. An impression of teeth and gums is made and sent to the lab for the crown fabrication. A temporary crown is fitted over the tooth until the permanent crown is made. On the next visit, the dentist removes the temporary crown and cements the permanent crown onto the tooth.
Will it look natural?
Yes. The dentist's main goal is to create crowns that look like natural teeth. To achieve a certain look, a number of factors are considered, such as the color, bite, shape, and length of your natural teeth. Any one of these factors alone can affect your appearance. All-ceramic crowns are preferable in the smile region. In certain circumstances, crowns can be made out of gold (or metal alloys) or a combination of porcelain fused to metal.
How should I take care of my crowns?
Besides visiting your dentist and brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth is vital with crowns. Floss or interdental cleaners (specially shaped brushes and sticks) are important tools to remove plaque from the crown area where the gum meets the tooth. Plaque in that area can cause dental decay and gum disease.
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