Some of the most common dental injuries occur when patients crack or break a tooth. This often happens while undertaking physical activity or can be the result of a head trauma, such as a car crash. Apart from being painful, these types of dental injury can also need complex cosmetic dental procedures to fix them. With cracks and breaks, dental bonding and fillings are sometimes insufficient, especially if the injury is quite severe, and in these instances a dental crown is the only option to save the tooth.
Dental crowns, or caps as they are sometimes known, can also be used to repair extensive damage to teeth caused by tooth decay. If the tooth has decayed to the point that it cannot support a filling, then it will need to crowned to protect it from further damage and ultimately tooth loss. Crowns are also used after root canal procedures when they are cemented in place to prevent any further infection and to restore the appearance of a natural tooth.
Before resorting to a crown, the dentist will always explore all the other possible avenues. This is because to apply a crown, a dentist will need to grind down the existing tooth to make it small enough to receive a crown and the adhesive cement. Once the tooth has been ground, it cannot repair itself and a crown must be worn there for life. Dentists use crowns when there is no other alternative and the integrity of the tooth has been damaged so badly as to leave no other option.
Various materials are used in the manufacture of crowns. They are usually made from porcelain, a form of ceramic, or alternatively a porcelain-metal alloy. These give the most realistic appearance and can be made from porcelain selected specifically to match the existing teeth of the patient. However, for the more extroverted, there is the option to have a crown made of gold or silver.
When fitting a crown, a dentist will first take a mould and x-ray of the patient’s teeth. Then using the very latest in 3D computer technology, they can produce an image of the teeth on a computer. This allows the manufacturing process to be incredibly accurate and means the crown can be designed to fit perfectly over the damaged tooth. If looked after correctly, with appropriate brushing and flossing, a crown can last between ten and fifteen years. Visit a Leeds dentist if you have a damaged or decayed tooth and would like to restore its natural appearance.