Dental crowns are one of the most frequently recommended and popularly done dental procedures. This is because they fix a variety of problems and help significantly extend a tooth’s life. Plus, it’s a basically painless procedure. You can think of a dental crown as a helmet or hat that covers all (or the majority) of the parts of your tooth above your gums. It looks like a natural tooth and strengthens your actual tooth as it holds it together. Let’s look into just a few of the reasons you may need a dental crown.
- Tooth Decay or Cavities
Tooth decay causes your teeth to weaken and jeopardizes their structure. When tooth decay reaches serious levels, dentists need to remove the affected areas. This leaves your teeth weakened and vulnerable to new bacteria. A dental crown can cover the rest of your tooth and prevent new bacteria from entering so you don’t need to get your tooth removed. When untreated, tooth decay can create cavities, which are also frequently treated with crowns.
Whenever one of your teeth has a cavity, some of the tooth structure needs to be taken out in order to fill it. If you have an especially large cavity, or that tooth has been filled several times over the years, there isn’t much original tooth left. This means it is extremely weak and susceptible to more damage. Covering that tooth with a dental crown will protect it and make it stronger.
2. Root Canals
When you have a root canal, the tooth gets hollowed out. That makes it somewhat exposed and more likely to crack. At this point, it’s standard to recommend crowns to prevent further damage and strengthen it. It lets you use the tooth as you normally would, without sensitivity, as it protects the tooth under it.
3. Cracked or Chipped Teeth
A slightly-chipped tooth, while it can hurt, doesn’t always require a dental crown. However, for deep cracks or fractures, crowns are recommended to stop further damage. At the most extreme end are people with cracked tooth syndrome. This is caused by stress fractures and spreads through enamel all the way towards your tooth’s nerve.
Sometimes this causes sensitivity to different temperatures. Chewing can become very painful when small food items, such as seeds, get caught in the crack and widen the fracture. If nothing is done, the crack can get so large that the tooth breaks in two. A crown eliminates the pain, distributes stress evenly, and holds the crack together so it stops growing.
According to a study by Dr. Anne Beall, when making snap judgments of people based off photographs, those with healthier-looking teeth are presumed to be more attractive, intelligent, successful in their careers, interesting, and kind. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found in a survey they conducted that 99.7% of Americans “believe a smile is an important asset.” You want to be able to smile without being bashful or even be proud of your smile.
Discolored teeth can sometimes be fixed by whitening toothpaste, professional cleanings, or dental bleaching. But if you’ve had a root canal, or the staining is extreme, typical whitening treatments won’t work. A custom-fit crown can look the same as a natural tooth, just whiter. Dental crowns can also help a smile look evener.
Dental Implants or Bridges
A dental implant is a tooth-root replacement put in your jawbone to replace a missing tooth. This automatically requires a crown. Once the implant is set, a dental crown is fitted to it. This looks like the rest of your teeth. Similar, but different, is a dental bridge. This covers the gap of a missing tooth, but nothing is connected to your jaw. Crowns are put on the teeth on either side of the missing one. They form a bridge that holds an artificial tooth.
Dental crowns are likely to continue being common practice because of the variety of situations where they are useful. It’s an easy way to protect vulnerable teeth and prevent having to painfully extract them. Plus, they look nice. This isn’t an exhaustive list of reasons you may need a dental crown -it’s just the beginning. If your teeth are weak for any reason, talk to a dentist to see if dental crowns are a good option for you. Our teeth do a lot for us. It’s nice to return the favor and treat them like royalty with a crown.