Dental crowns, also known as ‘caps’, play a critical role in restorative dentistry. They are a versatile solution used to address various dental issues and improve the appearance of your smile. With advancements in dental technology, such as CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics), the process of getting a dental crown has become more efficient and convenient. So, what is a dental crown, when is it needed, and what are its advantages?
What Is Dental Crowns?
A dental crown is a custom-made cap that covers the entirety of a damaged tooth. It’s designed to restore the tooth’s shape, size, strength, and improve its appearance. Crowns can be made from several materials, including metal, porcelain, resin, or ceramics. The type of crown used typically depends on the tooth’s location, the patient’s preference, the dentist’s recommendation, and the specific clinical situation.
In our practice, the most commonly used crowns are Zirconia (Zr) and E-max (lithium disilicate glass-ceramic). Zirconia crowns are known for their strength and durability, making them an excellent choice for restoring back teeth, which bear most of the chewing force. On the other hand, E-max crowns offer an exceptional balance of strength and aesthetics, making them a popular choice for front teeth.
When Is a Dental Crown Needed?
Dental crowns can serve several purposes:
- Protect a Weak Tooth: A crown can protect a tooth weakened by decay or another damage from breaking or hold together parts of a cracked tooth.
- Restore a Damaged Tooth: A crown can restore a tooth that’s been severely worn down or broken.
- Cover a Dental Implant: Crowns can be used as a part of dental implant treatment, serving as the final ‘tooth’ that’s attached to the implant.
- Cover a Tooth with a Large Filling: When there isn’t much of the original tooth left, a crown can be used to cover and protect it.
- Hold a Dental Bridge in Place: Crowns are often used as anchors on either side of a dental bridge.
- Improve Aesthetics: A crown can cover a discoloured or misshapen tooth, improving the overall appearance of your smile.
Advantages of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns come with several advantages:
- Strength and Durability: Crowns, especially those made of Zirconia or E-max, are highly durable and can withstand biting and chewing forces well.
- Aesthetic Appeal: Crowns can be made to match the colour, shape, and size of your natural teeth, providing a natural-looking restoration.
- Protection for At-Risk Teeth: Crowns provide a protective cover for damaged or decayed teeth, reducing the risk of further damage.
- Long-Lasting Solution: With good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, dental crowns can last for many years.
CEREC and Dental Crowns
CEREC is a sophisticated system that allows the production of ceramic restorations, including crowns, in a single dental visit. It uses CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing) technology to design and mill a custom crown on-site, eliminating the need for multiple visits or a temporary crown.
In conclusion, dental crowns are a valuable tool in modern dentistry, providing both restorative and aesthetic solutions. Whether you have a weakened, damaged, or aesthetically unpleasing tooth, a dental crown can provide the protection, function, and appearance that you need. As always, your dentist is the best person to guide you on whether a dental crown is the right solution for you. They will consider your specific dental condition, your overall oral health, and your personal preferences when making a recommendation.
The use of CEREC technology in our practice adds to the convenience, offering high-quality, custom-made crowns in a single visit. This means less time in the dental chair and more time enjoying your new, improved smile.
Dental crowns, especially when made from high-quality materials like Zirconia and E-max, offer a fantastic balance between functionality, longevity, and aesthetics. This, combined with the advancements in technology, makes the process of getting a dental crown more comfortable and efficient than ever before.
Remember, the goal is to maintain your natural teeth for as long as possible. Regular check-ups and good oral hygiene are key. However, if damage or decay occur, restorative treatments like dental crowns are there to help protect your oral health and restore your smile.
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