Helping You Understand Dental Crowns

Posted on: 18 December 2020


You may already know that a tooth comprises of two parts: the part you see when you look inside your mouth (crown) and the roots located inside your gum, and in your jawbone to hold and secure your tooth firmly.

Your tooth also has three distinct layers: the outermost known as the enamel, a second layer known as the dentine and a third layer, which is more of a chamber that houses your tooth's blood vessels and nerves (pulp cavity). It is important to understand this because you need to know why your dentist recommends dental crowns as a treatment option.

What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is an artificial crown made in a dental laboratory; it resembles the part of your tooth you see when you look inside your mouth, meaning it does not have roots. It is used to remedy various dental conditions you will read about below.

Teeth Discolouration

This is one of the conditions treated using dental crowns. Some people experience tooth discolouration as a result of a genetic condition, food or drinks they consume or poor dental hygiene. Some cases of tooth discolouration cannot be treated through cleaning or application of teeth whitening products; this is because the discolouration may have penetrated deep inside the enamel or near the dentine.

If this is the case, the dentist may strip a part of the discoloured enamel using a dental drill and cover the tooth left with a dental crown. The dental crown is usually hollow underneath, meaning it will be placed on top of the tooth like a lego block and then cemented.

Missing Tooth

If you have some missing teeth, your dentist may recommend two methods that utilise dental crowns: dental bridges and dental implants. A dental bridge is a set of two or three artificial teeth comprising of either two or one dental crown and a pontic (fake tooth).

If you choose a set of three artificial teeth, the pontic is placed in the middle of two dental crowns to form a set of three fused artificial teeth. The dentist then strips part of the enamel of the two natural teeth adjacent to the gap/missing tooth. This is so that the dental crowns can be cemented on them to offer support to the pontic, which sits in the gap. If you choose a set of two, a pontic is fused with one dental crown, and only one natural tooth is used to secure the pontic.

A dental implant requires surgery; your dentist drills the implant into your jawbone to act as a root for a dental crown that is attached during a second or third dental clinic.