Do I Need Porcelain Crowns?

Dental issues normally begin around age 30.  As we age, many of us find ourselves with teeth that are no longer structurally sound. Root canals, lost fillings, decay below a filling, chipping and cracking of the enamel are all things that can lead to large scale defects in a tooth’s surface.  When the entire surface of a tooth is a broken or decayed, but the root system is intact, a dental crown might be the best treatment.

Porcelain Crowns (Dental Caps)

Dental crowns, also known as dental caps, cover damaged or discolored teeth. Crowns cover the entire tooth, starting at the gum line. They are usually made of gold, porcelain, or a combination of both.

Though crowns can be used to improve the appearance of a tooth, they are not primarily cosmetic devices. Dentists recommend crowns to protect or strengthen weakened teeth, or to restore a disfigured tooth to its original shape and restore chewing function and the way your teeth and jaw close and function. Crowns strengthen teeth by binding the sides of the weakened tooth together, much the way a splint holds together a broken bone. Large fillings taking up over a third of the tooth may weaken that tooth over time; crowns are often used in cases where such weakened teeth threaten to break.

“Capping” a tooth requires buffing away part of a tooth to make room for the crown, so dentists often discourage it as a cosmetic method unless the teeth are damaged.

The “capping” procedure takes place under anesthetic. Because the crown is about two millimeters thick, the dentist first shaves this same amount off your existing tooth to avoid awkward-looking, oversized teeth. The dentist will also re-shape your tooth into a form upon which a cap can easily sit. He or she will then make a replica of your tooth. Usually, this replica will be a putty mold. This mold is then sent to a laboratory, where the crown will be made based on this mold. In the case of a porcelain crown, the dentist will choose a shade close to the color of the surrounding teeth. You will return about 7-10 days later to have the crown fitted and, once both you and your dentist are satisfied with the “look and feel” of the crown, it will be cemented over your original tooth.

Reasons for crowns?

  • Broken or fractured teeth, potentially exposing nerve and causing pain, or to restore chewing and function
  • Cosmetic enhancement
  • Decayed teeth, fractured fillings or to replace very large fillings
  • Tooth has a root canal, which makes it brittle and prone to breaking or shattering

Crowns are similar to fixed bridges.  Fixed bridges span numerous teeth.  Crowns are also placed on top of single tooth dental implants.  Dental implants are the ideal method for single tooth replacement or to secure poor fitting dentures.

Questions about treatment options? Call us now: 905-697-9799