Crowns are dental restorations designed to protect a tooth from damage and
that can dramatically change the appearance of a tooth. The are
designed to fit over a prepared tooth and fit much like a cap does on your
head. They are mostly used when decay has severely damaged a tooth, a
tooth fractures leaving very little structure to repair, or when replacing a
large existing filling that has developed a problem. Tooth structure
is very strong and if there is not enough tooth structure, a tooth will
become much more susceptible to cracking or fracturing. Any dentist
will see many patients with fractured teeth that are extremely painful, much
of these fractures are preventable.
Although crowns cost more than fillings, they can actually save you money long term because a large filling can fracture, requiring root canals, crowns, and sometimes even tooth extraction and implants. A crown done at the right situation would greatly minimize the chance of this fracturing from occurring.
Crowns can be made from a variety of materials. Several types of ceramics, gold alloys, titanium, base metals, and zirconia, and porcelain fused to metal. Dr. Okuda's knowledge of dental material sciences will help him pick the right materials for your specific situation.
Porcelain Crowns versus Veneers
Crowns surround the entire top portion of the tooth. Veneers cover the front and sometimes the sides of a tooth. Both can be made from the same materials but crowns are more protective against fractures but require more tooth preparation. Many dentists have a very difficult time when combining crowns and veneers on the same patient with color matching. Even though they may be made from the same type of material, they can look different because of many other optical properties related to thickness, underlying materials, etc. Dr. Okuda's decades of experience allow him to seamlessly match many different materials in the same patient.
Caring For Your Porcelain Crowns
With proper care, a good quality crown could last up to eight years or
longer. It is very important to floss in the area of the crown to avoid
excess plaque or collection of debris around the restoration.
Certain behaviors such as jaw clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding) significantly shorten the crown life for patients. Moreover, eating brittle foods, ice or hard candy can compromise the adhesion of the crown, or even damage the crown.