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Published: January 27, 2017

The Dental Crown

What Are Dental Crowns?

Commonly referred to as “a cap,” a crown is a dental restoration that is placed over the tooth with the purpose of improving strength, size, shape and esthetic appearance of a tooth. Today we’re going to discuss when and why crowns are needed and how to care for teeth that have been crowned.

When Are Dental Crowns Recommended?

  • Extensive Dental Decay: If decay has caused damage to your tooth resulting in extensive loss of tooth structure, a crown will be the best option to provide long term strength and stability to the tooth.
  • Large Dental Restorations: Teeth with large dental restorations that comprise ½ to 2/3rds of the tooth’s chewing surface may require a crown. A restoration this size weakens the tooth and puts the tooth at increased risk of fracture during normal functions like chewing.
  • Cracks in Teeth: Cracks in teeth can be symptomatic or asymptomatic. Symptomatic cracks are indicative of cracked tooth syndrome and may be painful when chewing and biting and may experience sensitivity to sweets and sweetened beverages. Depending on location and appearance of asymptomatic cracks, a crown also may be an ideal treatment option.
  • Restoration of Teeth Treated with Root Canals: Typically these teeth have suffered extensive damage from decay or the fracture of a cusp which has resulted in the root canal treatment. Link that with the fact root canal teeth have shown to be more susceptible fracture in service, a crown is the ideal treatment for these teeth.
  • Broken cusps: Depending on the location and size of the cusp fracture, a crown may be recommended. Broken cusps can often result in extensive damage to your tooth and crown will likely be the best long term solution to stabilize the tooth.
  • Desire or Need for Esthetic Upgrade: In some cases patients elect to have crowns or veneers placed to improve the esthetic appearance of front teeth or some back teeth that have been stained or misshapen. Crowns and Veneers are a practical way to achieve the esthetic results desired.
  • Connection for a Dental Bridge: Crowns are used to fabricate a bridge that replaces missing teeth. A prosthetic tooth is connected to the crowns and the crowns anchor the dental bridge.

What Are Crowns Made of?

Crowns are made of superior materials like porcelain or precious metals such as gold. Location, appearance, and function are evaluated before the right material is selected for your crown.  After the tooth is prepared for a crown, we scan it into a computer and send it to the lab for fabrication out of the selected dental material. After the crown is made, it is sent back to our office and cemented onto the prepared tooth. It typically takes 2 weeks to get a crown back from the lab.

How Do I Care For a Crown?

Just because a tooth has a crown does not make it invincible. Brushing and flossing (especially) around those teeth with crowns is important. Decay can still form underneath crown margins if not cleansed of plaque and food debris. With appropriate maintenance decades of service can be achieved from teeth that have been crowned.

Thanks for Reading Our Blog!

Thank you for reading our blog! If you have teeth in need of a crown give our office a call at 317-535-7141 and we’d be happy to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Johnson or Dr. Long.

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We specialize in dental care for the entire family.
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