Some Questions You Might Have About Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are not uncommon, and having one applied over a tooth can be a somewhat routine procedure. If you need a dental crown, you may have some questions about its application and care; note a few of those questions here and then don't hesitate to talk to your dentist if you still need more information about crowns.

1. What is the difference between a crown and a cap?

Crowns and caps are essentially the same thing; they are an exterior covering that slides over a tooth and which is then glued into place. Crowns and caps are used when a tooth is too badly damaged or decayed for a filling, or when it's suffered a severe crack or other such damage that cannot be easily fixed. The crown or cap provides a protective covering over the tooth so you can eat normally without damaging a weak tooth, and have less risk of losing the tooth altogether.

2. How long do crowns last?

While crowns are meant to last for years, this will often depend on a number of factors. The quality of the crown itself is important, but so is regular oral hygiene. Allowing food particles to build up around the area of the crown can mean bacteria that causes damage to the tooth underneath it, so that a cavity or decay gets worse. In turn, the crown may not have a strong foundation and may need to be reset or reapplied. Also, if you tend to grind your teeth or eat acidic foods, this can damage the crown as well. Your dentist can note the overall condition of the crown during your regular dental appointments and tell you if and when it may need replacing.

3. Can crowns be whitened, or have braces put over them?

A dental crown cannot be whitened with the same materials used to bleach natural teeth, but they can be painted if they get stained or if you have your other teeth whitened and the crown doesn't match. Braces can usually be put over crowns without any issues. However, when having any type of cosmetic work done or straightening done by anyone other than your standard dentist, be sure he or she knows that you have a crown in place. This will ensure they know to check the condition of the crown before applying braces and won't waste time trying to bleach the crown along with your other teeth.