When Are Crowns Used?

Teeth can begin to weaken over the course of time. They become prone to dental issues like decay, stains, and cracks. If you ever look in the mirror and feel that your smile has lost its luster, crowns can restore the beauty. Also, your dentist may notice during a checkup that a tooth is weakened by decay or some other damage. He may recommend a crown to protect the tooth from future damage. He will recommend a crown in those cases that a filling or bonding is not enough to resolve the issue.

What Options Are There with Crowns?

Crowns come in a variety of options depending on your situation and budget.

  • Crowns can be metal – This is most commonly used on baby teeth that will eventually fall out or on adult teeth that cannot be easily seen. While they are durable, they carry a metallic look that is undesirable to many patients.
  • Crowns can be porcelain fused to metal – This option works well for teeth that can be seen easily. It combines the strength of the metal with the natural look of porcelain on the outside.
  • Crowns can be porcelain – This is a common option for patients who want their teeth to look natural. The natural look of porcelain will easily blend in with other natural teeth.
  • Crowns can be gold – Gold crowns have two advantages. Its smooth surface is comfortable in the mouth. It also needs the least amount of tooth surface to be removed. For some patients, though, the aesthetics of a gold crown is too distracting.

What is the Process?

Installing a crown will take two or three appointments at the office. The first step involves filing some enamel off of the damaged tooth to allow the crown to fit over it. Your dentist will give you a local anesthetic for this step in order to eliminate your discomfort. Once the filing is complete, a mold will be made to use for creating the crown. You will be given a temporary crown while the permanent one is being made. Within two to three weeks, you will be back at the dentist to have the permanent crown placed over your tooth. Again, you will receive a local anesthetic to avoid any discomfort. The dentist will apply the crown with a special cement to ensure the crown stays in place permanently.

You will be happy to see your old smile in the mirror again. Crowns should last 10-15 years, and they should be cared for as well as your natural teeth.