Wearing Many Hats: The Different Roles of Dental Crowns

Being able to do many different tasks is almost a prerequisite for being a part of today’s world. As an adult, multitasking is something that you do without even thinking about it. If you are a parent, you have more jobs that don’t pay you than jobs that do. You are an employee for whoever gives you a paycheck, a taxi service for your kids, a cook for your family, a cleaning service, an accountant, and sometimes a therapist. Those are a lot of hats to have to wear. Dental crowns know how you feel.

When you hear the words “dental crown,” there are actually two meanings, or uses. The first is a cap-like structure that is placed over a natural tooth. The second is the replacement tooth that is secured on top of a dental implant. Most of the time, when you hear someone talking about dental crowns, they will be talking about the cap-like function. This is where the many hats of the dental crown start. In one application they are just covering the tooth, and other times they are used to replace the whole tooth.

Dr. Betts has been using dental crowns in his Decatur, AL dental practice for over 25 years. He understands how helpful these little devices are. He knows about their value to restorative dentistry as well as cosmetic dentistry (another hat for the dental crown). Dental crowns are able to do so many things to help your teeth. Let’s take a look at one of modern dentistry’s more versatile tools.

  1. Protect – A dental crown can be used to protect a tooth that has been damaged or weakened. Tooth decay is a major contributor to weakening your tooth. The cavity that is formed from the tooth decay will leave the structure of your tooth vulnerable to the biting forces of your mouth and foods that can damage it further. A dental crown from Dr. Betts will protect your tooth from these forces. After clearing the decay, Dr. Betts will place a crown that matches the shape and color of your other teeth over top of it. This will keep your tooth from breaking and also help keep it safe from further damage due to decay. If you already have a cracked tooth, a dental crown will help protect it from breaking further.
  2. Restore – When you have a tooth that has progressed beyond a crack and is now broken, a dental crown can keep all of the parts of your tooth together. Dr. Betts will place a crown on top so that you can avoid having the tooth removed. This helps in two ways. It keeps you from having to go through a tooth extraction procedure, and it also preserves the appearance of your smile. The last thing you want to have to deal with is a smile that has a space in it.
  3. Cover – When you have had a tooth become victim to large amounts of decay in the past, you may be left with a tooth that is more filling than actual tooth. Depending on whether you’ve received a resin filling or amalgam filling, your tooth might look more like a metal lump than an actual tooth. This is exactly what a crown from Dr. Betts will correct. A crown works well by covering the augmented, filled tooth with a structure that looks more like a real tooth.
  4. Support – A dental crown is also used to support other pieces of dental work. When you have a gap in your smile from one or more missing teeth, a dental bridge may be recommended. Dr. Betts will use a bridge to literally bridge the gap in your smile. On either end of the dental bridge, a dental crown will be placed. This gives the bridge a sturdy support system to help it stay in place while you go about your everyday activities.
  5. Replace – As we know, there are two definitions for a dental crown. This is where the second definition comes into play. When you think about a dental implant, you probably think about replacement teeth. That is not entirely accurate. Dental implants are not replacement teeth. They are replacement teeth roots. You still need to have an actual replacement tooth placed on top of the implant. Those replacements are called crowns. Like the cap-like crowns, they are made to look and act just like your normal teeth. The difference is that they do not go over an existing tooth but rather replace it altogether.

Wearing many different hats can be exhausting. Luckily, dental crowns don’t seem to mind it. Call Dr. Betts today at 256-274-8680 to schedule an appointment.