February 3, 2010

Dental Crowns: A Miracle of Restorative Dentistry

Dental crowns, or “caps,” are one of the modern miracles of restorative dentistry. They are used to maintain the normal look of a tooth and to help make it more stable.

Crowns are most often used when a tooth’s health is in decline or when it has been damaged so much that it can’t be fixed with a filling. For example, they may act as an adhesive and sealant for a cracked tooth. They are also used to restore a chipped, weak, disfigured, or discolored tooth.

The Basics of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are based on tooth and gum impressions. A temporary crown is placed over the patient’s tooth while the permanent crown is being made. Once the permanent crown is ready, the dentist takes the temporary crown off and cements the permanent crown in place. The result looks natural since it is based on the color, size, and shape of the original tooth.

Making Dental Crowns Last

Dental crowns can last for five to eight years, if you avoid habits such as grinding the teeth and biting the fingernails. Good oral hygiene, such as brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist, may extend the life of a dental crown even longer.

Flossing can help to extend the life of a dental crown. This cleans plaque and bits of food that can harm enamel out of the areas between the teeth that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. Flossing is indispensable in preventing gum disease. Be sure when flossing to clean gently all the way to the point where the tooth meets the gum line.

Talk to your dentist to learn more about crowns.