Crowns are a type of dental restoration which, when cemented into place, fully cup over the portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. In comparison, fillings are dental restorations that fill in or cover over just a portion of a tooth. Since dental crowns encase the entire visible aspect of a tooth, a dental crown in effect becomes the tooth's new outer surface. Crowns can be made out of porcelain (meaning some sort of dental ceramic), metal (a gold or other metal alloy), or a combination of both.
Why do teeth need dental crowns?
A dental crown may be need for a variety of reasons:
- To protect a weak tooth (eg, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn't a lot of tooth left
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshaped or severely discolored teeth
- To cover a dental implant
- To cover a tooth that has been endodontically treated (had a root canal)
How long does it take to fit a dental crown?
It takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. At the first of these appointments, any decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped to fit the crown. Then, an impression of the tooth is made. This impression is used in making the crown, to ensure that it fits your mouth. Between the first and second visits, the crown is made. In between the two appointments, a temporary crown is worn. At the second visit, this temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is cemented in place.
A crown is considered a permanent solution and should last for many years. However, taking proper care of all your teeth and attending regular dental appointments will help to keep your dental health in the best shape possible, as well as help prevent periodontal disease.