Dental crowns are a staple in the repair of damaged teeth. In order to understand how important this procedure is, it’s necessary to understand what a crown is made of, and how it can be damaged.
What is Enamel?
The crown of the tooth is the part we can see. It’s the protective outer layer that surrounds all of the more sensitive inner structures of the tooth. Crowns are covered in a substance called enamel, which is the hardest material produced by the human body. Yes, even harder than bone!
This largely inorganic mineral forms around the crown of the tooth while the tooth is still developing inside the gums. Once the tooth grows into place, the formation of enamel ends, leaving a tough layer of protection between the tooth and the rest of the world. If this hard protective layer gets damaged, it is time for Dr. Hill to step in. If the damage is extensive enough, we may need to replace the enamel with a full dental crown. Our traditional crowns are made to match your natural teeth, in color, size, and functionality.
If Enamel is So Tough, Why do I Get Cavities?
Unfortunately, even the hardest substances in the world can still be eroded or broken, and tooth enamel is no exception. Chronic exposure to acidic substances can be one of the biggest threats to enamel health. Others include grinding teeth—known as bruxism— as well as physical injury.
Cavities happen when the enamel has either been broken or worn away. The soft, inner parts of the tooth become susceptible to damage and decay.
What if I Just Brush My Teeth Extra Thoroughly?
Because mineral formation stops after emerging into the mouth, missing enamel also cannot be regrown by the body. Therefore, repairing this damage is the primary concern of dentists.
The good news is that there are several treatments and practices that can strengthen the enamel while you still have it. Daily oral hygiene, fluoride, and healthy eating habits can make a world of difference to your teeth.
What is a Dental Crown?
When cavities do occur, the dentist will usually clean out any decay, and seal the missing enamel with a filling. The problem is that not all cavities are created equal. Sometimes it becomes necessary to replace more than just a weak bit of enamel. This is where the dental crowns come in.
When the damage to a tooth is widespread enough, we will replace all of the enamel with a protective cap (crown). This acts like a tooth helmet, keeping the insides safe, once again.