What Porcelain Crowns Can Do for You
A dental crown is like a helmet that completely covers the visible portion of your tooth. The goal is to restore the strength of the tooth and protect it from future damage. In the past, you had to compromise between appearance and strength, but modern dental crowns made with porcelain can be both attractive and strong. That makes them useful for a wider range of cosmetic and restorative dental applications, including:
- Cracked tooth
- Replacing a large filling that has secondary decay
- Worn teeth
- Infected teeth treated with root canal therapy
- Teeth straightening (instant orthodontics)
- Small or poorly shaped tooth
- Topping a dental implant
When a tooth has a significant crack in it, it needs to be protected against further cracking and damage. A porcelain crown can do that in most cases. For bad cracks, it may be necessary to use root canal therapy to remove the pulp from the tooth because it’s at risk of infection. For cracks that go all the way to the tooth root, it may be necessary to remove the tooth.
Fillings are adequate to treat small cavities, but when a filling gets to a certain size, it can jeopardize the tooth. Fillings–especially metal amalgam fillings–often don’t add strength to a tooth, so they can lead to cracking. And they can also experience decay around the edges, requiring that they be removed before the tooth experiences too much damage.
Teeth that are worn down as a result of TMJ or other bite problems may need to be protected and built up again to support your bite.
When the pulp of a tooth is removed as part of root canal therapy, the tooth has to be protected, and a porcelain crown is used for this.
Instant orthodontics is an alternative to braces or Invisalign for teeth straightening. Instead of moving your teeth, we reshape them. This is normally done with porcelain veneers, but sometimes porcelain dental crowns are used when your reshaped teeth need more strength and support.
The same is true for small or poorly shaped teeth, like retained baby teeth or peg laterals. They can be built up with veneers, but sometimes they need a more comprehensive restoration like a dental crown.
Dental implants are just the artificial root. To achieve a complete tooth replacement requires a dental crown or bridge.
How Can A Dental Bridge Fix Your Smile?
This is a more permanent solution in that the teeth on both sides of the missing tooth are reshaped to allow a “crown” on each of them with a solid pretend replacement tooth in the middle. These are permanently bonded in and have been in use for over 50 years in dentistry. The advantages are that they work fine and stay in the mouth after eating. The disadvantages are that they require involving the adjacent teeth to the missing one and now are asking the 2 adjacent teeth to support the daily chewing forces that are normally shared between 3 teeth. Also, since the bridge is not removable, it requires extra daily care and maintenance with special flossing to keep from getting new cavities.
Combining Beauty and Strength
Modern porcelain dental crowns are technological marvels. In the past, porcelain crowns were made of basically the same thing as dinner plates. They could be attractive, but they were relatively fragile, so they could only be used in some situations, and metal crowns had to be used anywhere your tooth was under stress.
Then we developed porcelain fused to metal crowns, which were supposed to combine the strength of metal with the attractiveness of porcelain. But it often turned out to be the opposite: the fragility of porcelain caused it to flake off, revealing the unattractive metal underneath.
But with the development of advanced ceramics, modern dental crowns can be as strong as titanium, up to 20 times stronger than your tooth enamel!
And porcelain crowns can be made as attractive as ever, with translucency to rival natural tooth enamel and naturalistic design. No one needs to know that it’s not your natural tooth!
Are you considering getting a porcelain crown in Anchorage? Please call (907) 349-0022 or contact us today for an appointment at Excellence in Dentistry.