Why Do I Need A Crown?
One of the most frequent questions dentists get asked is about crowns. For as common and popular as they are, it’s surprising that so little is known about them. Part of the reason is that crowns have been one area that has seen many advances in recent years in terms of technique and materials.
Of course, for the majority of patients, what’s most important is having a dentist that you can trust with your smile. If you think you may need a crown, Jody Jones, DDS, in Midtown, Nashville has the experience and professionalism you should expect from a dentist.
Let’s start by explaining exactly what a crown is.
What is a crown?
A crown is the common name for what is technically known as a dental cap. It is a form of dental restoration that is placed over the top of a tooth (or dental implant). The purpose of the crown is to cover up a hole or damage that would otherwise endanger the health of a tooth.
Crowns are held in place by some form of dental cement. Over the history of dentistry, crowns have been made from a variety of different materials, with more advanced options becoming available all the time. The purpose of a crown can serve many functions, including strengthening the tooth, improving the appearance of your teeth, and protecting against further deterioration and future infection.
The basic procedure starts by making an impression of the tooth and using that model to fabricate the crown so that it is custom fit for the mouth. Today, it’s even possible to use computer modeling to create a highly accurate fabrication. Then, the patient will be scheduled at a later date to have the crown permanently anchored on the tooth. The color of the crown can also be matched to the surrounding teeth so that no one will be able to tell the difference.
How to avoid crowns in the first place
While it’s nice to know that modern crowns are so effective and durable, it’s still highly desirable to avoid needing a crown at all. The first step to healthy teeth starts with forming the right habits on a daily basis. Certain foods are much more likely to lead to tooth decay and the large cavities that result in needing crowns. Eliminating these foods goes a long way to protecting your teeth.
The obvious culprits include popcorn, sticky candy like gummies and licorice, and crackers, all of which can easily get stuck between your teeth and initiate the decay process. One food that most people never realize is harmful is white bread. It can easily get stuck in the crevices in your teeth and lead to bacteria and plaque forming. Stay away from chewing hard candies and ice, which puts a lot of pressure on already weakened teeth. Sugary beverages like pop and juices are also to be avoided.
Nothing beats regular care of your teeth. This starts with brushing after every meal, plus flossing and using a recommended mouth wash to rinse away unwanted residue. You should also get a professional teeth cleaning once to twice a year. This may seem like a hassle, but it’s a lot better than dealing with cavities and crowns.
How do you know that you need a crown?
A crown becomes necessary when the preventative measures have failed. There are two main reasons why a patient needs a crown. The first is if they chip or damage a tooth, especially if they have exposed the inner nerve. Not only will this be extremely painful, but it also leaves the tooth completely unprotected from infections. If this happens, you need to get it taken care of right away.
The second case involves multiple cavities in a single tooth. Every time you get a cavity filled, more and more of the structure of the tooth must be chipped away. By the second or third cavity, you’ll be in danger of not having enough tooth material left on which to bond the cavity filling material. Thus, it will become necessary to cap the tooth with a crown, not only protecting the cavity, but also protecting the tooth from future decay.
What are the main types of crowns?
In traditional dentistry, crowns and cavity fillings were made of precious metals. Gold, silver, copper and other metal alloys have all been used. They had the advantage of bonding well to the tooth and because these metals are malleable, they were unlikely to fracture. However, more modern materials have been developed that can be made for very specific scenarios.
Today, a new metal being used for crowns is stainless steel. Most of the time, stainless steel crowns are designed for a child’s baby tooth, knowing that it will only need to last a few years at most. They tend to be easier to make and cheaper to insert, and thus are good options for temporary solutions. In adults, stainless steel crowns might be used to protect a damaged tooth while a more permanent crown can be fashioned.
Ceramic crowns are a popular option because they can be color blended to match your surrounding teeth. They can also be used on back teeth for patients that might have an allergy to metal or other material. Another option is porcelain-fused-to-metal. This combines the effectiveness of metal crowns with the aesthetic appeal of ceramic crowns. Finally, composite resins are another option for crowns that can be found in use today.
What are some alternatives to crowns?
Before you get a crown, it’s always a good idea to look at alternatives that might be less invasive. In some cases we recommend getting inlays or overlays instead of a crown.
Your Nashville, Tennessee Crown Specialists
At Jody Jones, DDS, our entire staff of dental professionals makes the health and well-being of our patients our top priority. We work with our patients to find the best crown solution for your circumstances, and make sure you understand exactly what we’ll be doing and why it’s necessary. As one of the most advanced dental practices in the Nashville area, you can rest assured you’ll receive only the best care.
Contact us today to learn more.