You may not be royalty, but a dental crown might help you feel like one. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth. It restores a tooth’s shape, size and strength and improves its appearance. When cemented in place, a crown encases the entire visible portion of a tooth. You may need a crown:
• If you have a tooth weakened from decay. It can also hold together parts of a cracked tooth.
• To restore an already broken tooth or one that has been worn down.
• To cover and support a tooth with a large filling or dental implant, or to hold a dental bridge in place.
• To cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth.
Permanent crowns can be made from stainless steel, all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic. Crowns usually last five to eight years, but if good dental care can make it last longer. Here are some tips for keeping your crown in working order:
• Avoid chewing hard foods and ice. They can break a porcelain crown.
• If you grind your teeth, take steps to stop. Your dentist can help you.
• Maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day and see your dentist regularly.
• Clean between your teeth with floss, or special dental sticks, picks or brushes. These are designed to help get rid of the plaque that accumulates between your teeth and can help prevent gum disease.
Research shows it takes 20 well-placed teeth for you to be able to chew properly. Although nothing truly replaces healthy teeth, a crown is a popular restoration option.