Dental crowns are replacement caps used to restore or repair a tooth. Whether you're getting a crown because you're self-conscious about a discolored tooth or you need a tooth to replace a seriously damaged tooth, crowns are an attractive solution to a variety of dental problems. Dental crowns are basically caps made of a material similar to porcelain.
Crowns fit snugly over the top of the tooth and are fastened into place so that they will last for years. A dentist will usually suggest using a crown whenever a tooth has deteriorated to the point that the tooth can no longer be used or when the appearance of a tooth is severely compromised. You'll often get a crown after a root canal or when part of a decayed tooth has to be removed. Crowns can also be part of a larger dental appliance, such as a bridge. Most bridges are held in place with a crown on either end that fits over the teeth on either side of an area where teeth are missing to hold the bridge and its false teeth securely in place. Crowns are sometimes fitted over an implant when an entire tooth has been extracted or over a cracked tooth to prevent future tooth decay and maintain the integrity of the tooth's chewing surface.
To properly fit a crown, it has to fit snugly and maintain the appropriate size so that it looks realistic next to your natural teeth. To achieve this, the damaged or discolored tooth will have to be filed down so that the crown fits firmly in place and is the same size as the original tooth. To create the crown, a cast will be made of the tooth that's to be covered. The resulting impression will be used as a guideline for a specialized dental lab to make a crown designed specifically for your mouth.
In some cases, your dentist may make a temporary crown for you to wear while your permanent crown is being manufactured, particularly if the underlying tooth is severely damaged or you are in pain because of an exposed nerve. The permanent crown will be cemented into place. If you care for your crowns properly, they can last up to ten years, or even longer in some instances. Proper care isn't just brushing daily; you will need to floss around the crown often to prevent build-up of plaque, which can shorten the life of the crown (we know you floss every day already, right?)