Dental crowns 一 sometimes called caps 一 are dental restorations that cover the entire visible portion of your tooth. This is in contrast to fillings, inlays, and onlays, which only cover a portion of your tooth. Your dentist can affix a crown for purely cosmetic reasons, but they’re often used to help protect damaged teeth.
In this blog, Kevin Miller, DDS, shares how crowns protect damaged teeth and what you can expect when receiving a crown here at Dentistry in Paradise in Santa Barbara, California.
3 ways crowns help protect damaged teeth
Dental crowns can help safeguard teeth that have become damaged from severe decay, trauma, or infections that require a root canal.
Fillings are a common treatment for tooth decay, and while we can spot tiny cavities thanks to digital X-rays and easily repair them with a filling, sometimes the tooth decay is severe.
If you need a large filling, we have to remove more tooth material. This can weaken your tooth. If you have a large cavity, Dr. Miller may recommend a crown to protect your filling and tooth.
Dental crowns can protect and strengthen your natural teeth if they’re damaged. And damage can come in many forms: broken pieces, cracks, and chips.
If your tooth is cracked after a traumatic injury, there’s a chance that the crack will worsen because biting and chewing apply pressure to the weakened areas. Chewing food, for example, exerts 70 pounds of pressure per square inch. Imagine adding that pressure on top of a cracked tooth!
If your tooth is weak and cracked, the crown helps by keeping your tooth together and preventing the crack from worsening over time.
After a root canal
If your tooth is dead, if you develop an abscess and infection, or if you have extreme decay, the best course of action may be to preserve your tooth with a root canal. During a root canal, Dr. Miller removes the living tissue (nerves and blood vessels) inside the tooth.
While a root canal preserves your natural tooth, avoiding extraction, it may become quite weak without protection. You might receive a crown after a root canal to protect your tooth from damage.
Other benefits of dental crowns
Dental crowns do more than protect a damaged tooth. They can:
- Restore the form and function of your mouth so you can speak clearly and chew without issue
- Boost your self-esteem so you can smile with confidence
- Help replace missing teeth (when used in a bridge or a dental implant)
All aspects of a crown are customizable: the color, the shape, and the size. This means that your new dental crown not only protects your teeth, but it also does wonders for your smile and confidence.
What to expect when receiving a new crown
Direct restorations, such as fillings, are fabricated inside your mouth. Dental crowns are indirect restorations, meaning they’re fabricated outside of your mouth. Because of this, crowns take a little longer than a filling to create. Depending on the situation, crown placement may require two appointments:
- First appointment: We remove a small amount of enamel to accommodate the crown and then make impressions of your mouth so your dental crown fits precisely over your tooth; we place your temporary crown with dental cement. If we are able to, Dr. Miller will use CEREC technology to fabricate and deliver the crown in the same visit.
- Second appointment: If Dr. Miller is unable to make the crown the same day, we remove the temporary crown, place the new crown in your mouth, and secure it permanently in place
Do you have questions about dental crowns? Don’t hesitate to book an appointment with Dr. Miller. You can reach the team at Dentistry in Paradise by calling us at 805-967-0272.