You hear a lot about crowns these days—especially if you’re a royal watcher (Meghan Markle is pregnant-see what rules she has to follow!) or a fan of the Netflix series, The Crown—but you may not know a lot about dental crowns, an important form of tooth restoration. Read on to learn more…
What’s a Dental Crown?
In the world of dentistry a crown—sometimes known as a dental cap—is a type of dental restoration which completely caps or encircles a tooth or dental implant. It’s typically bonded to the tooth using a dental cement.
When might I need a crown?
Dental crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth.
Crowns are used for:
Protecting a Tooth – if a tooth is cracked or decaying, a crown can protect a weak tooth from further damage.
Restoring a Tooth – a crown can restore the functionality of a broken or damaged tooth.
Covering a Filling – if a tooth has a large filling and there isn’t much tooth left, a crown is used to cover the filling and support the tooth.
Holding a Dental Bridge in Place – a dental bridge (used to bridge a gap when a tooth is missing) may require a crown.
What kinds of crowns are there?
Just as a princess has many tiaras or crowns to choose from, there are options amongst dental crowns as well, although they aren’t solely chosen based on aesthetics. Depending on which tooth needs a crown, one of our dentists will suggest a material or combination of materials, right for you. The types of crowns as outlined by the Canadian Dental Association are listed below.
Metal crowns: are made of gold, generally last a long time and won’t chip or break. While they won’t wear down your opposing natural teeth, the gold colour doesn’t look natural, particularly on front teeth.
Composite crowns: look natural and won’t chip as easily as porcelain crowns, but they tend to wear more quickly from chewing. Brushing tends to remove the highly polished surface of composite crowns and this causes them to stain more easily.
Porcelain crowns: look the most natural, are more brittle than metal or composite crowns and may chip more easily so are not usually placed on back teeth.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns: look natural and are stronger than porcelain or composite crowns. They won’t chip as easily as porcelain or ceramic crowns. Depending on their design, the metal may show if your gums are thin or shrink.
How long will a crown last?
If it’s well taken care of a crown will last approximately ten years or longer.
If you have any further questions on whether a crown may be right for you please don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you want to impress your dentist on your next visit with your wealth of knowledge or want to be armed to the teeth (pun intended, insert groan here) on your next trivia night, read on for some interesting facts about the history of dental crowns.
4,000 years ago: Southeast Asia, on Luzon—an island in the Philippines—skeletons revealed basic golden caps and gold tooth replacements. Modifying teeth with gold was popular among chiefs and the ruling class, considered to be a symbol of wealth, power and status.
Around 700 B.C: the Etruscans—an ancient Italian civilization in what we know as Tuscany today—used gold dental crowns as a symbol of luxury and wealth.
(Who knew rappers would bring back the trend?)
1746: According to the American Dental Association the first crown came about when: “Claude Mouton describes a gold crown and post to be retained in the root canal. He also recommends white enameling for gold crowns for a more esthetic appearance.”
1889: Dr. Charles Land introduces the all-porcelain jacket crown, the first modern rendition of the dental crown we know today. The porcelain jacket procedure took a broken tooth and rebuilt it with a porcelain covering (the jacket) to make it appear new again. The porcelain jacket crown was very effective for the day, and widely used until the 1950’s.
1950’s: the porcelain-fused-to-metal crown is introduced.
For more historical dental facts visit: https://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-history-and-presidents-of-the-ada/ada-history-of-dentistry-timeline