21st century dentistry focuses on ways to help people keep their natural teeth for as long as is feasible. These days, the dentist does not extract teeth as soon as they show minor signs of damage and supply you with a set of full dentures. Instead, we like to find ways to keep damaged teeth with healthy roots in your jaw, because natural teeth are nearly always better than artificial replacements. One way we can extend the life of your teeth is by fitting them with dental crowns.
What is a crown?
In dentistry, the crown refers to the white part of the tooth above the gumline. This is the bit you chew with and spend all that time brushing and flossing. Dental crowns are artificial white parts that we put over your own damaged crown, protecting and strengthening it all the way down (or up) to the gum. Dental crowns can be manufactured from various materials. In the past, it was common to see crowns made of gold. Nowadays, and here at Meadowbank Dental Practice in Edinburgh, we like to use crowns that are tooth-coloured. These are usually made from dental ceramic.
When might you need a crown?
We find that crowns provide great solutions in the following situations:
- there has been so much decay in a tooth that not enough healthy material remains to support fillings or onlays
- your tooth is now so broken that we can no longer rebuild it with composite resin bonding
- we need to strengthen and protect a tooth following root canal therapy
- to protect teeth that are being destroyed by grinding or acid
- to attach to a dental implant and so replace a missing tooth.
How are dental crowns fitted?
Firstly, we will numb the area with a local anaesthetic. Then we will clean your tooth and make sure there is no decay inside it. We then use a tool called a burr to taper the tooth, which will more easily have the crown fitted over it. It is cemented into place.
Dental crowns can’t decay but you still need to keep the area free from plaque and trapped food.