What is a crown?
A crown is an indirect dental restoration that fits over the chewing surface and sides of a prepared tooth that has been reduced in size. By covering the remaining healthy tooth structure and binding it together, crowns protect teeth from catastrophic failure.
After the tooth has been prepared to specific dimensions, an impression is made with a highly specific rubber-like material and sent to a dental laboratory. Dental lab craftsmen then use the impression to create a stone model of your teeth. Upon this model, your crown is designed to custom fit your tooth.
Crowns can be made with a variety of materials, including porcelain, zirconia, and even gold. Each material has specific advantages, and we will help you choose the best solution for your mouth.
Why would I need a crown?
Teeth are the hardest structures in our bodies, but they aren’t indestructible. When teeth are damaged by cavities or trauma, usually a simple filling, or dental restoration, can solve the problem. But in cases when the trauma is so extensive, or the cavity is so large, a direct dental restoration can’t provide the necessary long-term protection that a tooth needs to prevent further breakdown.
This is also true of some teeth that have had root canal therapy. Root canal therapy removes tooth structure from the inside of the tooth, leaving the tooth more brittle and prone to fracture. This is especially true of our molars and premolars because these teeth are subjected to the strongest forces during chewing.
Teeth that have had a history of multiple large fillings are also prone to fracture. Often, these teeth can benefit from crowns.
In some cases, teeth that have never had a filling, cavity, or any history of acute trauma may need crowns. Teeth that are subjected to repeated clenching and grinding or other abnormal habits like chewing on pencils or eating ice can accumulate microfractures. These microfractures can grow in size and eventually result in what is called an incomplete tooth fracture. While incomplete tooth fractures aren’t severe enough to cause a chipped tooth or loss of tooth structure, they can be extremely painful when eating. Sometimes a large filling can be sufficient to repair an incomplete tooth fracture, but in other cases, only a crown can solve the problem.
What do I do if I think I need a crown?
Do you experience a sharp pain in one of your teeth every time you eat? Did one of your teeth break recently? Have you recently had root canal treatment?
These might be signs that you need a crown. Remember: we only have one set of adult teeth! So if you need a crown on your tooth to prevent catastrophic fracture and extend the lifespan of your tooth, call (301) 963-0800 to schedule an appointment today!