There are times when loss of tooth structure from trauma or decay is too great to correct by placing a simple tooth-colored filling. There may not be enough enamel to bond to, or the enamel may be fractured and unable to provide enough support for a filling. When the structure of the tooth is this severely compromised, Dr. Shaffer will use a dental crown to treat his San Antonio patients. A crown covers most, if not all, of the surface of the tooth to replace tooth structure and strength the tooth. This is called full coverage. To learn if dental crowns are right for you, contact our office today. We proudly serve patients throughout Texas.
The Placement of Dental Crowns
The first step is to replace the tooth structure you have lost from decay or fracture with a material that will provide a good foundation for the crown. Once Dr. Shaffer makes sure that there is no decay in the remaining tooth structure, he will simply bond a high-strength material to the remaining tooth structure to form a good foundation. This is called a build-up. Anyone who has had a dental crown come off early will know how important it is to get a good foundation built so that it doesn’t happen again. Dr. Shaffer then prepares the tooth by taking enough tooth structure away so that a crown can be built to look like your original tooth before the problem. Dr. Shaffer will take a very detailed impression to send to our San Antonio laboratory where our highly skilled lab technician will make an individual dental crown that only fits your tooth.
The crowns are either made of porcelain, a hard tooth-colored material, or they are made of gold. Most people choose to have porcelain that is bonded to a metal or a newer material like zirconia, to increase the strength of the porcelain and look like their other teeth. Your dental crown is made at our San Antonio lab in about 10 days. Our lab technician takes the time and necessary steps to make sure that the crown fits exactly to your tooth. When you return to the office, Dr. Shaffer will make sure the crown fits precisely in your mouth before he cements this one-of-a-kind crown for your tooth. Again you will have a tooth to chew on.
Why Patients Need Dental Crowns
Certain habits may cause a patient to damage their teeth and need restoration with a dental crown. You may grind your teeth because of the everyday stress of your busy life. This may wear the enamel (the hard protective outer layer of your tooth) and cause your teeth to become very short and unattractive. Also sometimes you may have bad habits like chewing ice, crunching down on that last “pea size” bit of a jawbreaker, or chewing on the un-popped popcorn kernels. These habits can act like wedges to start cracks in the enamel of the teeth. These cracks can grow just like the crack that grows in your windshield, from the very small crack that eventually causes your windshield to break. When these cracks in our teeth grow they can cause our teeth to hurt when we bite on hard things or to fracture. In these circumstances, Dr.Shaffer will recommend a dental crown to restore the beauty of your smile and give you teeth that don’t hurt when you chew on them.
Deciding If a Crown Is Right for You
Dr. Shaffer often looks at cracked teeth very closely to make sure that the crack doesn’t do more damage. We may often need to act quickly to see if the crack is already into the middle of the tooth. When a tooth does fracture it generally fractures in one of three ways. It can be a simple fracture that only involves the hard, outer tooth structure above the gum tissue. This can be easily fixed with the placement of a dental crown. However, it can also be more complex. The fracture may either involve the nerve (pulp) of the tooth, requiring root canal therapy or the fracture may go below the tissue and require gum surgery called crown lengthening.
The third fracture is down the middle and often causes the tooth to be lost. This leaves behind a space that then needs a bridge or implant to replace the teeth in the arch.
Schedule a Consultation
Dr. Shaffer can help you get a better smile and chew without pain by restoring broken, worn down teeth with veneers or dental crowns. Call Robin at Alon Dental Care to set up an appointment.