If you have a tooth that is broken or cracked, a dental crown, or "cap," can be used to cover it, restore its natural shape in the mouth, and help hold the natural root in place in your jawbone. A crown can also make a weak tooth stronger, hold a dental bridge in place, cover a dental implant or improve a tooth's appearance to match your natural teeth. Some people choose crowns purely for cosmetic purposes, to attain a more uniform appearance in their mouth. A dental crown covers more area than a dental veneer, and is usually recommend for teeth that have large fillings or little original tooth structure. Many dentists now have CEREC technology available which enables them to fashion a crown in one sitting.
Crowns can be made from different materials such as gold, metal, porcelain, resin or ceramic. Each has positives and negatives, but should be compatible with your surrounding teeth. Choose a general dentist or cosmetic dentist who will fashion a crown that fits properly in your mouth and helps maintain a healthy biting surface.
To determine whether you need a crown, your dentist will take x-rays to examine the roots of the targeted tooth and the surrounding bone. If there is extensive damage you may need to find an endodontist to perform a root canal or a cosmetic dentist to install a dental implant to accept the crown. Your dentist will file down your original tooth along the top and sides to prepare a spot for the crown. The amount filed away depends on the type of crown you will be receiving. Molds or digital images are taken of this prepared area and your crown is fashioned. Your dentist will test it for the level of comfort in your mouth, make sure it does not interfere with your chewing capability, and permanently bond it to your original tooth.
If you have a crown, you will need to pay special attention to flossing between it and the adjacent teeth. Brush properly to maintain the gum area around the crown. This will help protect the remaining natural tooth that remains under the gum from becoming decayed.
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