Citrus Heights dentist explains when dental crown treatment is indicated
Dental crowns have been around for a long time. The technique dates back to 700 BC when the Etruscans, an early Italian culture, crafted caps of gold. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that crowns made of porcelain came into existence. Despite the role of crowns in dental history, many people do not realize how versatile this treatment is. The team at Sacramento Natural Dentistry in Citrus Heights shares the following helpful information.
Crown background and terminology
In the mouth of a person with good oral health, a tooth root reaches deep into bone. The clinical crown is the portion visible above the gum line. A dental crown is a restoration cemented into place, that covers the entire clinical crown.
If you are considering having a tooth crowned, your dentist may also use these terms:
- Preparation – This refers to the process of removing damaged structure and shaping the tooth to allow the dental crown to fit over top. The extent of preparation depends on the crown material and thickness, and previous dental work or damage to the tooth. The goal is to maintain as much natural tooth structure as possible, while ensuring a secure fit.
- Margin – The edge of the crown at the gum line. The margin should blend smoothly, without ledges or gaps.
- Cusps – The raised contours on the chewing surface of a tooth. A dental crown is designed to mimic natural cusps so that you can tear, grind, and chew food properly.
- Partial crown – Properly called an inlay or onlay, this conservative restoration covers only part of the clinical crown. It may be used when the area of decay or damage is too large to support a filling but does not warrant a full crown.
- Provisional crown – Commonly called a “temporary,” this is an interim restoration, usually made of inferior materials and weak cement. It is intended for short-term use only, sometimes while a final crown is fabricated at a dental laboratory or to be sure there are no complications from root canal therapy.
Why do teeth need crowns?
Here are some of the instances in which your dentist may recommend a crown:
- Broken cusp – As mentioned above, these raised points are vital for chewing. Their prominence also makes them vulnerable to breakage. Cusps are subjected to the highest level of stress during chewing, so without a crown for protection, fractures will continue to develop.
- Cosmetic enhancement – A tooth that has unusual shape, size, enamel imperfections, or deep intrinsic discoloration can be beautified with a crown.
- Cracked tooth syndrome – Bite force from chewing can cause microscopic cracks inside a tooth that trigger intermittent or chronic pain. A crown keeps the tooth intact, redistributing stress more evenly to improve or eliminate discomfort.
- Dental bridge – A bridge contains artificial teeth. The bridge is held in place by crowns on teeth adjacent to the gap.
- Dental implant – A crown is the final addition on a dental implant, to replace a missing tooth.
- Excessive wear – Bruxism (nighttime grinding or clenching), age, and acid erosion from gastrointestinal problems can cause teeth to wear down. Short teeth collapse the bite, leading to TMJ problems. Crowns build these teeth back up to proper size, balancing the bite.
- Large area of damage – If decay or trauma exceeds 50 percent of the width of the tooth, a crown is indicated. Remaining natural tooth structure is too weak to buttress a filling of this size and would likely result in failure of the restoration.
- Root canal treatment – If a tooth has had root canal therapy, it is essentially a dead shell. Without blood flow, tooth structure becomes brittle and subject to breakage. If you choose to keep a root canaled tooth, a crown is necessary to provide strength and protection.
Sacramento Natural Dentistry offers the convenience of CEREC crown technology. This type of crown is computer designed and precisely milled from a solid block of porcelain. The lustrous, natural looking, metal-free material is then stained to match existing teeth and securely bonded in place. The entire treatment is done while you wait. There is no need for a provisional crown, or a second visit.
Would you like to learn more about the many applications for dental crown treatment? Schedule an appointment at Sacramento Natural Dentistry in Citrus Heights – (916) 823-8585 .
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