Dental crowns are actually not a new concept – in fact, they’ve been used since 700 BC, when the Etruscans made them out of gold. Of course they’ve come a long way since then, and although you could still have a gold crown if you wanted one, you’d probably find the newer, tooth-colored crowns to be more aesthetically pleasing.
So, what exactly is a dental crown? “Crown” is actually something of a misnomer, since when you think of a crown like the one a king or queen wears, you know that it’s open at the top. A dental restoration that didn’t protect the top of your tooth wouldn’t actually be all that useful. Dental crowns are actually more like hats or helmets, designed to restore and protect a damaged tooth, to cap an implant, or to protect the tooth after it receives a large filling.
To prepare your tooth to receive a crown, your dentist will first scrape away any decayed areas and rough up the surface of the tooth a bit so that the crown will adhere properly. Then impressions will be taken of the affected tooth or teeth, and sent off to a lab that will manufacture your crown or crowns. The crown will be colored to match the rest of your teeth, so unless you want to tell people that you’ve had dental crowns installed, you can keep it a secret. On the day that your crown is installed, your dentist will do a final check to make sure that the color is right, and will attach the crown using a special type of bonding cement.
Caring for dental crowns is really no different than looking after your natural teeth. Although the crown won’t decay, you still have to brush and floss regularly, because the crown only protects against structural damage – you’re still vulnerable to bacterial infections or gum disease. And, of course, there is still the possibility of decay in your adjacent teeth. Ideally, you want to take good care of your teeth so that you don’t need more dental work down the road.
Whether a crown is an appropriate solution for your dental issues depends on the extent of the damage – if a tooth is only slightly damaged, a simple tooth-colored filling may be all that you need. On the other hand, if the damage is severe, a crown may not correct the problem. If you’re in the Staten Island area and you’re considering dental crowns, our dentists at Drs. Galligan & Villa Dental Studio can offer advice as to whether they’re appropriate for you. Call them today at 718-984-7700 to schedule a consultation.