Many of us underestimate the importance of taking care of our teeth. While we are told that we need to visit the dentist at least once a year for teeth cleaning, I know that sometimes I don’t adhere to this as strictly as I should. I brush my teeth and floss each day, after all.
However, sometimes things like cavities might go unnoticed until we get an exam. When left uncared for long enough, tooth decay or cracking could occur. This can be painful and a danger to our health, since our teeth are connected to a lot of other parts of our bodies.
While it is natural to fear the process, I can assure you, there is no reason to. Don’t delay too long. However, if you find that you need dental care, hopefully I can detail to you some options that are out there.
What are Dental Crowns?
When I say the word “crown,” our first thought usually isn’t dentistry. Maybe we think of a king, queen, prince, or princess, and the fabulous jewels atop their head. However, they are actually a large part of dental care!
You can see a definition of them here, https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-crowns, but I will try to explain in slightly simpler terms. When we get into the technical diction of orthodontists, it can certainly get confusing.
They are a cap that covers a damaged tooth, meant to imitate the original shape. Ideally, they mimic the appearance so well that they are not noticeable. They should also strengthen what needs to be repaired.
When are they Necessary?
Naturally, there are many situations in which a crown might be required for your mouth. After all, with how crucial our teeth are, a lot of things can damage them. First, if you have tooth decay, they can help.
If part of it is weak or already broken off, a dentist might recommend a crown. Additionally, cracks or ones that are worn down could benefit. They can also provide structural support to fillings, something a lot of us might not realize.
Sometimes, the process of creating them can take quite a while. This is because they need to match the original appearance and shape. However, with advances in technology, sometimes same-day installations are possible.
A dentist can do this by scanning your mouth and creating a ceramic crown. An example of this is CEREC dental crowns at Farnham Dentistry, one of the potential same-day solutions. I recommend calling or researching this if you live in the Jacksonville area.
Types of Crowns
When I first inquired about them with my orthodontist, I had no idea about the options for the materials that could be used. Turns out, there are a lot out there. Each has its own pros and cons, of course, so I think educating ourselves is a good idea before we even step foot in the office. That way, we come with some prior knowledge and are prepared for the discussion.
One kind is all-resin. This is a fairly affordable option, given the nature of resin. Do note that it is a dental grade form of the material, so it is perfectly safe. They do not need a lot of preparation. Unfortunately, they are not the most long-lasting since they are weaker than other choices.
Metal ones have the appearance of the metal used, which is why they are not all that popular anymore. In the past, though, gold and silver were used quite often. We’ve all heard of pirates with gold teeth, for example.
Nowadays, one of the metals used is zirconium. This is a nice option since it often looks white colored in appearance and blends in more easily with natural teeth. If you need to replace a molar, this might be the go-to. That is because they are strong but will not damage the surrounding mouth.
Now, stainless steel options are available as well, but they are usually only used for children. This is largely due to the fact that they do not last a long time. So, they can be utilized for something like a baby root canal or for children who require pulp therapy.
One of the popular forms of crowns is made entirely of porcelain. These do provide one of the most natural appearances. You can read more on them here: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007631.htm. Sometimes they are called all ceramic – the kind that I mentioned above.
If you have an allergy to metal, this is probably what your dentist will select. They are entirely free of that material. They can also be color matched to your teeth, helping them blend in more seamlessly. They can crack or wear down other teeth, but with proper maintenance they are usually fine.
Finally, there are some that are metal crowns coated by porcelain or ceramic. This kind gives the appearance of a porcelain one, but also provides the longevity and strength of the pure metal ones. Just keep in mind that if your gums recede, the metal beneath might start to be visible.
Why Does this Matter?
Maybe you’re wondering why this is important, anyway. Often, our oral health is called a window to our overall well-being. This is certainly true.
Think about it. How do you ingest things? Through your mouth! So, everything that you eat and drink passes through this part of your body.
If you’ve got harmful bacteria there from tooth decay or gingivitis, for example, you could ingest some of them. This can obviously be harmful to other parts of us if left unchecked.
Something interesting to note is that some medications for depression or other afflictions can give us a drier mouth. Saliva actually serves as a neutralizer for the acids in our mouth. It washes away food as well. With reduced levels, some bacteria or toxins might slip through!
All of this being said, don’t forget to brush your teeth and floss each day. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Maintaining oral hygiene is the best way to prevent unwanted dentist visits!