Around 100-200 AD, the Etruscans who populated the hills of ancient Italy crafted gold dental crowns and fixed bridgework to restore and replace teeth. Since then, the dental crown has remained a staple of contemporary dentistry, and today’s restorations are often indistinguishable from the natural teeth around them. When a tooth is damaged and can no longer perform its duties, or weakened after being treated for a cavity, a dental crown can protect it from further damage and possible loss.
Defining a Dental Crown
A dental crown is named after the top part of your tooth, which it’s built to restore. Your tooth’s crown sits above the gum line, and is responsible for biting, chewing, and grinding food, as well enunciating your words and filling out your smile. A dental crown is a custom-made replica of your tooth’s crown, and is designed to cap the tooth and take over its responsibilities. To accommodate the crown, Dr. Fondriest will sculpt the tooth before bonding the restoration in place.
How Dental Crowns are Made
Your teeth are arranged in a specific pattern that allows them to distribute the pressure of your bite amongst themselves. To fortify back teeth, or molars, that absorb the most pressure, some dental crowns are infused with metal to increase their structural stability. For most other teeth, however, dental crowns are typically crafted from innovative dental porcelain. The semi-translucent material is tinted to match each patient’s specific tooth color, and the porcelain is layered to mimic the way tooth enamel reflects light. Lifelike dental crowns allow you to restore a damaged or weak tooth while rejuvenating its image, creating a restoration that friends, family, and coworkers won’t even know you have (unless you tell them).
What a Dental Crown is For
Because of their ability to closely mimic natural teeth, dental crowns are often used in a cosmetic capacity to enhance a blemished tooth’s appearance. A tooth that is severely stained or discolored, chipped and uneven, or slightly misshapen can be reinvented with a custom dental crown.
Though beautifully crafted to compliment your smile’s aesthetic value, the main purpose of a dental crown is usually to protect a tooth from certain doom. Permanent teeth can’t heal themselves; when cracked, fractured, or broken, the damage remains, and can grow worse the more the tooth is exposed to the pressures of biting and chewing. Often referred to as a cap, a dental crown completely covers your tooth’s compromised crown to prevent further damage and reduce the risk of a future tooth infection.
As prosthetic devices, dental crowns are often used to support a dental bridge to replace one or more lost teeth. A dental bridge consists of an appropriate number of replacement teeth, with a dental crown on either side of the device. The crowns are bonded to the remaining healthy teeth that border the empty gap, called abutment teeth, to hold the fixed dental bridge in place.
When placed on top of a dental implant, a dental crown can replace a lost tooth without the need for a bridge, or the need to disturb healthy tooth structure. A dental implant is a prosthetic root device that’s surgically inserted into the jawbone. The implant is made from biocompatible titanium, and as your jawbone heals (in about 4-6 months), it bonds to the implant’s surface, making it a permanent part of your dental anatomy. After you’ve healed, Dr. Fondriest can attach the crown to an abutment that protrudes above the gum line. Together a dental implant and crown create a lifelike replacement tooth that possesses the same root-and-crown structure as your natural teeth.
About Your Lake Forest Cosmetic Dentist:
Aside from providing expert general and cosmetic dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds highly-respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve the Chicago metropolitan area including the North Shore and Northwest suburbs. To schedule your consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.