When a tooth is fractured, has a large, old filling, or is severely damaged by decay, we may recommend the placement of a crown, or cap. Crowns strengthen and protect the remaining tooth structure and can improve the appearance of your smile. Types of crowns include the full porcelain crown, the porcelain-fused-to-metal crown and different variations of these. Crowns surround the entire tooth, unlike a veneer that just covers the visible surface of the tooth.
Before crowns, the only real option for a broken down tooth was extraction. Crowns have given dentists, and in turn patients, the ability to fix certain dental situations.
Cavities, or dental decay, occurs when acid-forming bacteria in the mouth are supplied with sugars. With these sugars as their food, the bacteria produce acid that eats away at the tooth, creating cavities. Usually, cavities can be drilled out and filled with tooth-colored composite (or silver amalgam) fillings. However once too much tooth structure is lost, fillings will no longer suffice and the tooth will need to either be extracted or crowned.
In addition to cavities, age, wear, and fracture are other reasons a tooth may require a crown. With age, teeth tend to turn yellow, wear down, chip, and become less attractive. In addition, teeth can fracture from over-use or by accident. In these situations as well, crowns are a great way to restore function, esthetics, and beauty to a smile.