As you age, you may find yourself with teeth that are no longer structurally sound. Lost fillings, decay, chipped or cracked enamel, and root canals can all cause defects in the surface of your teeth. When these defects compromise the strength and stability of your teeth, your dentist may advise you to cover them with crowns.
What are crowns?
Crowns are artificial restorations that fit over your teeth. When cemented in place, they fully encase the entire visible portion of your damaged teeth, making them strong and giving them a natural appearance.
Crowns can be made from a range of materials, including:
These crowns are thin and require less tooth preparation, making them suitable for tighter spaces in the mouth. Their translucency renders them an esthetically pleasing choice.
Porcelain bonded to metal
Porcelain bonded to metal crowns offer the next most esthetically pleasing choice after all-porcelain crowns. The metal interior of these crowns provides support and durability. However, if your gum line recedes, the metal may show.
These crowns are extremely hard wearing, making them the ideal option if you grind or clench your teeth. However, as they lack the esthetic appeal of other types of crowns, they are best suited to covering the teeth at the back of your mouth.
What benefits do crowns offer?
Crowns offer a range of benefits, including:
Crowns made from porcelain or porcelain fused to metal can improve the appearance of broken, misshapen or severely discolored teeth. These crowns mimic the luster and translucency of your natural teeth, helping you to give the illusion of a healthy smile.
Restored ability to speak and chew properly
When attached to implants or dental bridges, crowns can replace missing teeth. Restoring your missing teeth in this way can help you to speak more confidently and chew foods properly.
Unlike dentures, which can shift and slide, crowns stay in place because your dentist cements them over your damaged teeth, attaches them to implants or anchors them in place with dental bridges. They therefore allow you to go about your life without worrying about the prospect of your replacement teeth shifting around in your mouth.
When used to cover decayed or damaged teeth, crowns also protect your teeth from plaque accumulation and further damage and decay.
How long do crowns last?
Crowns should last between five and 15 years, depending on the amount of wear and tear they are exposed to. If you grind or clench your teeth, you will put excessive pressure on your crowns, shortening their lifespan.