When there’s a problem with your molars — the teeth at the back of your mouth — it can make life very unpleasant. Most of the pressure from our jaws when we bite goes through those teeth. If they’re chipped or cracked, all of that pressure is going to translate into discomfort and pain. The best way to get on top of it? Dental crowns.
A dental crown is an appliance designed to restore the look and function of a chipped or cracked tooth. It also protects the tooth from further damage.
It’s easiest to think of a dental crown as a kind of cap or helmet that sits over the natural tooth. Dental crowns are shaped to look like real teeth, and depending on the material used can appear very natural.
Dental Crowns can be made from a variety of materials such as gold, porcelain, or composite resin.
Most of the force of your bite goes into your back teeth. If a tooth is chipped or cracked, this force will eventually make the tooth break. This is not just painful, it’s complicated and time-consuming to fix.
A dental crown helps to restore the integrity of the damaged tooth. Pressure from your bite is spread properly among the crown, preventing further damage.
Dental crowns are also used after a root canal. Because a hole needs to be drilled through your tooth to get to the pulp inside, the tooth’s integrity becomes compromised. Capping the treated tooth with a crown gives it its strength back, and also prevents bacteria from re-entering the tooth.
Getting a dental crown takes a few steps. After your consultation, an impression will need to be taken of your teeth. This allows the crown to be properly designed and ensure it fits in your mouth.
Because the crown sits on top of the tooth, some enamel needs to be shaved away to allow a proper fit. If the enamel isn’t shaved back, then the crown won’t fit in the mouth. After the crown is placed on the tooth it should take up little to no more room than the original tooth did.
After that, a temporary crown is fitted until the full crown is properly machined. Some dental practices offer same-day crown restorations using machines such as the CEREC. These are computer-guided systems that take digital scans of the teeth, create a virtual design for the crown, and then machine it automatically.
Otherwise, it will take several weeks for the crown to be ready to fix into place on the tooth.
Dental crowns aren’t considered invasive procedures, and there are no real contraindications for getting one.
The only time a crown might not be considered is if the tooth is too damaged. After a point, placing a crown on a severely damaged tooth simply won’t do anything. In those cases, it will be best to get the tooth removed and have a dental implant or bridge placed there instead.