What Are Dental Crowns?

Edgerton & Glenn provide a Variety of Preventative, Restorative, and Cosmetic Dental Services to Wilmington, NC Residents. Call To Schedule Your Consultation Today.

In the simplest terms, a dental crown wilmington nc is a fixed prosthetic device. Let’s take apart that term. A crown is fixed, in that it is attached inside your mouth and can only be removed by a dental professional. A prosthesis or prosthetic is an artificial body part; in this case, the prosthetic is a tooth or row of teeth. A crown is a device, because it serves a specific purpose in your mouth. A fixed prosthetic device, then, in this case, is an artificial tooth that is permanently attached inside the mouth so that the mouth and teeth may maintain their mechanical function. The most common types of artificial teeth are dental crowns and removable dentures; the primary observable difference between these two types is that a removable denture is taken out daily for cleaning, while a dental crown is cemented onto a dental implant or existing tooth, though there are multiple other medical and functional differences between removable dentures and dental crowns.

The two most common types of crowns are those that cover a damaged tooth, and those that replace a missing tooth. The first type of crown serves as a cap that covers a damaged tooth, strengthening that tooth and also improving its appearance. While some crowns are attached on top of an existing tooth, other dental crowns are affixed to dental implants, which are surgically implanted in the jawbone. When more than one tooth needs to be replaced, your dentist may use a series of artificial teeth in a row, mounting this row of teeth on either an implant or on existing teeth. This row of two or more teeth is called a bridge and is another form of dental crown. Depending on the placement in the mouth, your dental crown may be made of porcelain or ceramic, which matches the natural teeth in tone and luminousness, or of acrylic, or gold or metal alloys. These metal alloys are stronger than porcelain or ceramic and are most frequently used for the back teeth, which undergo greater mechanical stress than the other teeth. Your dentist may recommend a dental crown or bridge to provide reinforcement for a weak tooth to prevent it from breaking, or you may receive a crown that fits over a broken or fractured tooth, protecting it from further damage. Some crowns are used to attach bridges into the mouth, or to cover a misshapen or discolored tooth. Other crowns may be installed to protect a decaying tooth, if there is not enough existing tooth to place a filling in the decay. Your dentist may recommend a bridge if you are missing more than one tooth in a row. If a larger gap is left unaddressed, the adjacent teeth may begin to migrate or rotate, adversely affecting both the appearance and the function of the teeth. In some cases, missing teeth can lead to jaw disorders or gum disease. A bridge is an effective way to replace one or more missing teeth. The bridge will be cemented either to the natural teeth on either side of the extended gap, or to dental implants, which serve as anchors for the bridge. Just as you may choose the most appropriate material for a crown, you may also choose the appropriate material for a bridge, based on your functional and aesthetic needs.

Before you are fitted for a dental crown or bridge, your dentist will alter the size of your supporting tooth or teeth so that they can securely accommodate a crown or bridge. Once the teeth are prepared, the dentist will make a mold of the tooth so that the crown or bridge can be made to fit snugly over the tooth’s surface. If your dentist is crafting your crown or bridge from porcelain, you will also have this material matched to your natural tooth shade at this time. Using your dental impression, a dental lab will craft your crown or bridge. While this is being constructed, you will be provided with a temporary bridge or crown to protect the prepared tooth surfaces. Once the permanent crown or bridge is made, your dentist will remove the temporary replacement and cement the permanent crown or bridge in place. Crowns and bridges are meant to last a lifetime, but they can sometimes loosen or fall out. The best way to ensure their longevity is through proper oral hygiene at home, and with regular professional checkups and cleaning. Remember to brush twice daily and floss daily, and schedule regular dental appointments every six months. If the bone and tissue holding a bridge or crown in place become diseased or infected, this will affect the integrity of the crown or bridge, so be sure to practice proper preventative hygiene. Dentists also recommend avoiding excessively hard or crunchy foods, to prevent damaging a crown or bridge.

More on Dental Crowns : Dental Crown Procedure