Medically reviewed by Dr. James Ko

Why Do I Need a Crown?

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6 months ago

One of the things you may not know about dental crowns is that they are among the most common solutions for various dental issues. In fact, you probably know someone who has one or more crowns right now. There are a number of situations that can be remedied with the use of crowns. Is your dentist recommending them as part of a treatment for a dental issue? Here are some examples of how crowns are used and what they accomplish.

What is a Dental Crown?

Dental crowns are prosthetic devices that are designed to cover the top and sometimes the sides of a tooth. Typically, they help to provide additional support, replace a portion of a tooth that’s missing, or help to hold some other type of dental prosthetic in place.

Many types of crowns are difficult to detect once they are in position. That’s because the materials used for the crowns can be tinted to match the shading of the tooth and the surrounding teeth. The result is that once it’s in place, no one but the patient has to know the crown is present.

How much do dental crowns cost? A lot has to do with the size of the crown as well as the material chosen for the prosthetic. A popular choice is crowns made using porcelain. Others may prefer crowns made of metals like gold or platinum. There are also crowns made of composite material. Your dentist can help you understand the benefits associated with each choice, including the current cost.

Read more: Why Is It Important to Get Teeth Cleaned?

Crowns and Fractured Teeth

One of the applications for dental crowns in Markham is to provide strength for a fractured tooth. In this scenario, the dentist is likely to use some type of bonding agent that helps to prevent the fractures from getting worse. A crown is then placed over the tooth to boost the strength. This comes in handy since the pressure exerted on the tooth when chewing is less likely to trigger further damage.

When used in this fashion, the crown can make it possible to keep the natural tooth for quite a few more years. Are crowns permanent? Not exactly. They will last for a number of years, with the amount of time depending on factors like the choice of materials and the amount of wear and tear the crown sustains. In any event, the crown can be the difference between keeping the tooth longer and losing it today.

Crowns and Chipped Teeth

A chip along the top of a tooth sets the stage for more damage later on. That’s because the chip exposes the dentin found underneath the tooth enamel. If left untreated, it’s only a matter of time before the tooth weakens and more problems ensue.

By having a crown installed on that tooth, the dentin is effectively protected. The odds of more issues developing are kept to a minimum and you will definitely get to keep the tooth for more years.

How long is a crown supposed to last? Some people get five to seven years from a crown. Others may count the amount of time they keep the crown in decades rather than years. A lot depends on the wear sustained by the crown and if there is any further deterioration underneath the crown. By making sure you have a dental exam once a year, it’s possible to monitor the condition of the crown and the tooth itself. Your dentist will know when the time is coming to make some changes.

Read more: Your Guide to All On Four Implants

Crowns To Cover a Filling

Did you know that a crown can come in handy if you need to have a cavity filled? When the filling is larger, adding a crown provides a greater level of stability to the tooth. It also helps prevent wear on the filling and allows you to keep the tooth for more years.

Consider what happens if you have a molar filled. The molars are subjected to a lot of activity, especially in terms of chewing food. When you choose to have a crown installed over the filling, you further ensure that the pressure from chewing is distributed more evenly. That in turn helps to ensure the wear on the tooth is not excessive. Assuming that more decay does not develop around the filling, you could keep that tooth for decades.

Stabilizing a Loose Tooth

Patients who’ve been involved in some sort of accident and loosened one or more teeth may find that dental crowns help to provide some stability. Once the teeth are settled into the gum again, adding crowns along with some bonding could prevent shifting and help the tooth roots to settle more firmly into the gum and jawbone.

Read more: 3 ways prepare dental procedures require sedation

Dental Bridges and Using Crowns

Can a dental crowns procedure be helpful when you lose teeth? The answer is yes. When the loss results in a gap, you could choose to invest in a dental bridge. When you select one of the bridge designs that’s considered permanent, the device is anchored to the teeth on each side of the gap. It’s usually recommended to modify those anchor teeth slightly and then add crowns once the bridge is firmly in position. With the right approach, it will be hard for anyone to determine the bridge or the crowns are present.

What is the best dental crown material? Many people prefer porcelain because it holds up well over time and it can be tinted to match the shade of the rest of the teeth. There are other options that your dentist can recommend.

How About Implants?

Dental crowns are also used when patients opt for individual dental implants. The implants are designed to fit in the spaces once occupied by natural teeth. A crown, sometimes called a cap, is adhered to the portion of the implant that is above the gum line. That crown is custom shaped to resemble the type of tooth it’s replacing. When the work is done, no one will know that crown is not the real thing.

Crowns on Different Types of Teeth

Many people wonder if crowns can be used for any type of teeth. The answer is yes. While crowns on molars are common, they can also be used on the incisors. Even the canine teeth can be fitted with crowns under the right conditions.

Your dentist will determine if dental crowns would help with your particular dental issue. If so, there will be discussions about how the crown will be shaped, what you have in the way of options for materials, and if it will be necessary to shape or otherwise modify the tooth before the crown is installed.

Crowns Help to Improve Bite Distribution

Depending on which tooth needs the crown, it can make a difference in your ability to bite efficiently. This is important since it helps to more evenly spread the pressure exerted when you bite into a piece of fruit or any other type of food. Thanks to the more even distribution, you are less likely to damage the teeth surrounding the crown. Even the general wear and tear on the teeth is even rather than some teeth being more worn than others.

Remember that while the tooth crown procedure does involve using sturdy materials, those crowns are not indestructible. You will want to take the same precautions that you would with your real teeth. That means refraining from biting on any material that your dentist says is bad for your teeth in general.

Chewing is Also More Efficient

Assuming the dental crowns are place on the back teeth, they will be used for chewing. Just as the crowns aid in a more even distribution of pressure while biting, they can help even out the amount of force exerted on the molars. This is good news, since it helps to ensure that some teeth are worn down while others are not. It also means you can masticate with greater ease. Since chewing food thoroughly before swallowing aids in digestion, those crowns indirectly help you experience fewer episodes of indigestion.

Crowns and Your Ability to Speak Clearly

Have you ever thought about how the condition of your teeth affects the ability to pronounce each word properly? When you have teeth that are broken or missing, some words are harder to say than others. It’s only after you correct those dental issues that it’s easy to speak those words again.

For example, you’ve lost two or three teeth. Before being fitted with implants or a dental bridge, you notice it’s hard to pronounce a word you use regularly. After the implants or the bridge is in place and the crowns are added, those words are easy to pronounce once again. That will certainly make it a lot easier to participate in conversations or give short speeches in front of a group of people.

There’s more that you should know about crowns. Talk with your dentist and ask questions about how to repair a broken crown tooth, what type of crown would work best for you, and even how to take proper care of those crowns. Once you understand what type of dental crown problems may arise and how those crowns can help you avoid other issues, it will be easy to understand why the dentist is recommending that you get one or more crowns.

Andrea Galick

Andrea Galick is an accomplished Dental Hygienist (RDH) with a passion for helping patients achieve optimal oral health. Andrea has built a reputation as a caring and skilled practitioner who puts her patients at ease and provides individualized care that meets their unique needs.

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