Dental crowns are often used to cover teeth that have been damaged from decay, trauma, or dental procedures. A crown is a hollow device that covers the portion of a tooth that is visible in the mouth. Since the prosthetic device fully encircles the natural crown of a tooth, providing support to all sides of the structure, the natural tooth is protected and fortified after the crown's placement.
A dental crown may also be used during the replacement of a lost tooth. Here are two ways that crowns are used in tooth replacement.
Crowns With Dental Bridges
Crowns are used to help hold a dental bridge in place. The bridge, which is an appliance that is made up of false teeth and one or more dental crowns, is fixed in place by the connection between the bridge and the abutment teeth.
Most traditional bridges include false teeth in the center of the device and crowns on each end. Before the crowns are placed, the dentist removes a small amount of tooth material from the abutment teeth. The removal allows the crowns to fit over the teeth without extending beyond the patient's natural bite line. The crowns are cemented to the teeth to permanently fix the bridge in position.
Bridges typically use tooth-colored crowns that can be matched to the color of the patient's other teeth for a natural-looking restoration. The crown materials are often porcelain or porcelain-over-metal.
Crowns With Dental Implants
Crowns can be added to dental implants to complete the restoration of a lost tooth. A dental implant is placed in the jawbone through the gums. After the tissues around the implant have healed, the dentist can complete the next steps in the restorative process.
The provider contours the gums around the implant so that the gingival tissues curve around the device as they would for a natural tooth. The dentist can then apply an abutment to connect the implant to the dental crown that will cover it. As the final step in the replacement of a single lost tooth, the dentist adds the crown to the abutment.
The actual implant and the abutment are concealed by the crown. The resulting restoration is functional and natural-looking. Additionally, the strength of crown and the stabilization of the implant help the replacement tooth function as well as its natural counterparts.
For more information about dental crowns and their uses, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.