A crown is also known as a cap because it is a dental restoration that covers a tooth completely. It can also attach to a dental implant or support a dental bridge. In most cases, it is bonded to a tooth (or dental implant) using dental cement. Crowns restore the appearance and function of a tooth that is decayed, cracked, or broken. It is also used to cap teeth that have undergone a root canal. Dental bridges consist of two parts: one or two abutments (usually a crown) that support the pontic, or fake tooth.
In order to receive a crown or bridge, a tooth must be shaved to make room for the prosthetic. An impression will then be made of the prepared tooth. A dental laboratory will use this impression to create the custom-fit crown or bridge. During the waiting period for the prosthetic to be completed, a temporary crown will be used to protect the tooth. The crown or bridge is made to have the same shape and color as a natural tooth. When it comes in, it will be attached using a special dental cement, and the dentist will shape and adjust it further as needed.
Good candidates for crowns or bridges have teeth that are badly damaged or worn or that need changes in size, shape, or alignment. They must also be committed to practicing good oral hygiene habits.
Crowns can be treated as regular teeth, meaning they can be used to eat and drink as normal, but also require the same amount of care. Cavities can still form underneath a crown, so it is still important to brush, floss, and use fluoride as before. Because they are made of ceramic, it is important to remember that crowns can fracture. Chewing ice and biting fingernails should be avoided. A night guard may be needed to protect crowns from fracture if teeth grinding is a problem.
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