By Jeffrey Cranska
Family Laser Dentistry
Modern dentistry is dynamic. Changes to improve patient comfort and quality of care are always being developed. The use of improved dental materials, modern delivery systems, lasers, computer-generated imaging, and computer management software systems are just some of the changes.
In this column, I will answer questions on high-technology dentistry. Please direct inquiries to my website at www.cranska.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Do I Need a Crown On My Tooth?
Modern technology has given dentists more materials that restore cracked, decayed, worn, discolored or broken teeth. Instead of using metal in the mouth, the trend is now to use tooth-colored ceramics.
Q: What is a crown?
A: A dental crown is a restoration that completely caps and covers a tooth. Crowns are used to improve the form, function, strength and appearance of a damaged tooth or to cover a dental implant. Crowns originally were made entirely of gold. Technology in the 1960s and 1970s gave us porcelain-covered gold crowns and all porcelain crowns. This improved cosmetics, but porcelain is not as durable as a natural tooth or solid metal.
Twenty-first century CAD/CAM (3D printer) technology has developed a chip-proof, solid, all-ceramic crown. Computers are used to design these restorations, which are milled by a machine using a solid block of ceramic. These crowns meet the dentist’s requirements for fit and high-strength, and are tooth colored. There is no metal sensitivity or allergies with these ceramics.
Q: How can I have a broken tooth repaired to look like my original tooth?
A: A dentist is responsible for a thorough examination and proper diagnosis to determine the best treatment for the patient. The dentist will evaluate the benefits versus the risk and determine what treatments are necessary. Fillings are designed to go inside a tooth. Worn, broken and cracked teeth, and weakened teeth with large restorations with excessive decay, may not leave enough healthy tooth structure to support a replacement filling. Root-canaled teeth need crown coverage to protect against tooth breakage. Crowns are needed to restore the tooth back to its original size and shape, so it can function. There are many choices using the new materials developed over the past two decades.
Q: How long will the tooth restored with a crown last?
A: With an indestructible crown covering the tooth, the expectation is for it to last many years. Proper maintenance is important to prevent decay around the crown. Like any tooth, the tissue around it can get gum disease.
Dental crowns are one of many items that can restore your teeth to proper function. The patient and dentist will determine how to restore teeth.