There are a number of ways to protect a tooth that has been damaged. Here are a few of them.
Once the structure of a tooth has been damaged by trauma, decay, or an invasive dental procedure, the integrity of the tooth may be compromised. As a result, the unprotected tooth may be more prone to decay or further structural damage from bite pressure.
A dental crown offers a way to protect the tooth from further harm. A crown is a dental covering that is made of hard materials, such as resin, porcelain, porcelain-over-metal, gold, or stainless steel. The crown fits over the natural crown of a damaged tooth. Once the crown is in place, the tooth is fortified and less likely to incur additional damage. To ensure that a crown fits properly, a mold of the mouth is often used as a guide for dental lab workers as the crown is fabricated. For stainless steel crowns, however, no mold is needed. The stainless crown is simply placed over the tooth and molded into place mechanically.
Tooth-colored crown materials, such as resin, porcelain, and porcelain-over-metal are used when a natural-looking appearance is desired for a compromised tooth. Thus, they are typically applied to teeth that are exposed when a person smiles or speaks. Metal crowns are often used in pediatric dentistry and to cover adult back teeth. Crowns are suitable for teeth that have incurred large cavities, received a root canal treatment, or have large chips or cracks.
A veneer doesn't cover the entire natural crown. Instead, it is only applied to the front surface of a tooth. Veneers are made of strong, tooth-colored materials, such as resin or porcelain. Like dental crowns, they are fitted to the contours of the mouth.
To help the veneer fit naturally into position, a small amount of the enamel from the front surface of the tooth is removed before the veneer is applied. This helps the veneer fit flush with the front surfaces of the other teeth in the mouth, leaving the original bite line intact. Veneers are most suitable for teeth that have small amounts of structural damage, such as chips or cracks since they only fortify the tooth from one side. Still, the devices add strength to the tooth structure.
If you would like to learn more about how dental crowns and veneers can help protect your teeth, schedule a consultation with a dentist near you.Share