Fashion changes all the time, but certain things remain the same. Take, for instance, dental crowns. For at least a few thousand years, dental crowns were made of solid gold (or a gold alloy) and were as much a flashy display of one’s wealth as they were a dental restoration. These days, ceramic, zirconia, or ceramic-metal mixed crowns are more popular because they have an extremely life-like appearance that’s indistinguishable from natural teeth. Even though the materials used to create dental crowns may have changed, these handy little dental restorations can have a big impact on the look and health of your smile.
1. Hiding Cosmetic Imperfections
Cosmetic dentistry refers to dental treatments that improve or enhance the overall beauty of your teeth and/or gums. When possible, your dentist will recommend the least invasive (or most conservative, depending on how you look at it) cosmetic treatment available. However, certain severe cosmetic issues cannot be improved with teeth whitening or a little cosmetic bonding. Instead, a dental crown may be needed to completely cover a tooth that has severe, intrinsic stains or is malformed.
2. Protecting Severely Damaged Teeth
Teeth are strong, but sometimes a sudden injury (like the kind sustained during a car accident or during contact sports) or severe decay will destroy the structure of a tooth. In these cases, a dental crown may be placed over the tooth to protect the remaining natural structure, to restore the function of the tooth, and to restore the appearance of the tooth. For example, during root canal therapy, the decayed portion of the tooth’s structure will be removed. Rather than leave the tooth exposed, your dentist will place a crown over it to protect and strengthen the remaining tooth structure.
3. Replacing Lost Teeth
Replacing a missing permanent tooth is one of the smartest choices you can make for the long-term health of your smile. Not only will you be able to chew and speak better, but you’ll experience an increased likelihood of keeping more of your natural teeth throughout your lifetime. Dental crowns can be used to top a dental implant post or anchor a dental bridge in place as a means of replacing missing adult teeth.