Crowns are synthetic caps, usually made of a material like porcelain, placed on the top of a tooth, restoring them to their natural size.
Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth’s function and/or aesthetics following a restorative procedure such as a root canal, large restoration due to tooth decay, fractured teeth, malocclusion.
They can also be used to change tooth color and shape. A well-made porcelain crown should blend in with the natural teeth and be unnoticeable.
Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, prevent a cracked tooth from becoming worse, or to restore an existing large restoration. Crowns also have an aesthetic use, and are placed when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance.
To prepare a crown,a tooth must usually be reduced in size to accommodate a crown to fit. An impression is then made from the existing tooth to create a custom-designed crown for that specific tooth. The impression is sent to a dental lab, where a custom-designed crown is created. Usually a temporary crown is fabricated and placed until the permanent crown is ready. Both temporary & Permanent crowns are cemented in place.
Crowns are sometimes confused with veneers, but they are very different. Veneers are typically applied only to relatively small areas usually the front of the teeth, while the crown will cover usually the entire tooth above the gumline.
With proper care, a good quality crown could last up to eight years or longer. It is very important to floss regularly around the crown to avoid excess plaque buildup.
Certain movements such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) may significantly shorten the life of a crown. Also, eating hard,brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown permanently.