Years of chewing take their toll, especially on teeth that have large fillings or have been filled several times. Sometimes, even teeth that have never been filled just break for one reason or another. Tooth grinding and severe acid reflux are just two conditions that can cause teeth to wear or break, even when there are no cavities! When a tooth breaks and a new filling wouldn’t be expected to last very long, the solution is often a crown.
If you’ve never had a crown before, you’ll probably find it very similar to having a filling done. There’s some drilling involved (with you feeling nice and numb, of course), and then we take digital pictures of your tooth so that often there’s no impression ‘goop’ to deal with. After that we make a temporary crown that will protect the tooth while your crown is being made. You return for a much shorter appointment when the crown is ready. We make sure the crown fits well and looks good to you, then you get to take it home! Even better, many times this visit doesn’t require any numbing.
It’s true that we have to remove a small amount of tooth structure to get a tooth ready for a crown. If we don’t, the final crown would be weak in some spots and would feel unnaturally large in others. Fortunately, with today’s strong materials, most of the time we only have to remove about a millimeter of tooth from the sides and the top. It looks weird at first, but once the temporary crown goes on you don’t actually see what’s underneath.
Similar to crowns, we use bridges when there is a gap between two teeth. With the popularity of dental implants they’re not used quite as often, but they’re still useful in the right situations. If the teeth on either side of the gap need crowns anyways, then we can make a chain of crowns that “bridges the gap” between them. Like a single crown, bridges are cemented into place so they’re in all the time.
Another popular use of crowns is to rejuvenate a mouthful of discolored, chipped, tired looking teeth. In this case, we might cover the teeth with porcelain crowns that look more youthful and feel natural. Depending on your particular situation, we might mix crowns on some teeth with veneers on others so that we only remove as little of your natural tooth as we need to get a great result.
If you have broken or discolored teeth, we’d be happy to discuss your options and help you decide if crowns are right for you. Please feel free to call our Galloway office with any questions or to make an appointment.