The History Of Dental Crowns: From Gold To Porcelain

2021-02-05T18:06:15+00:00April 30th, 2018|Dental Crowns|

At Carolina’s Dental Choice, our goal is to make sure that you have a happy, healthy, and beautiful smile. To do that, many patients need a crown to cover one of their teeth but they aren’t exactly sure what the purpose of the crown is or what the procedure entails. Don’t worry; we can answer any questions you have about dental crowns and provide you with a little more information on the history of crowns.

First things first: What is a crown? A crown is essentially a cap that covers a tooth. Crowns are placed over a tooth to improve its shape, size, strength, and even help its appearance. A dental crown can be needed for many reasons, such as:

  • Protecting a Tooth – If a tooth is cracked or even decaying, a crown can protect a weak tooth from further damage.
  • Restoring a Tooth – A broken tooth needs a crown to restore the functionality of the tooth.
  • Covering a Filling – Sometimes, if a tooth has a large filling and there is not a lot of tooth left, a crown will be used to cover and support the tooth and filling.
  • Holding a Dental Bridge in Place – A dental bridge is something that dentists use to bridge a gap between teeth when a tooth is missing. A crown may be used to cover this gap.

Dental crowns actually have a very interesting history that dates back thousands of years. Four thousand years ago, Luzon, an island in the Philippines, gold was used to modify teeth. Skeletons have been found with gold caps and gold tooth replacements. Evidence suggests that this practice was popular with the chiefs of the time and was a symbol of wealth and power in society. An ancient Italian civilization, the Etruscans, have also been discovered as using gold for dental crowns as far back as 700 B.C. It is thought that wealth and luxury were important to these people and they put gold dental crowns to cover their teeth. Some skeletons were also found with what are essentially the first dental bridges: artificial teeth were held in place with a gold wire which then banded the fake teeth to real teeth. Pretty cool!

Europeans didn’t start utilizing modern dental practices until around the 1400s. They started by carving dentures from bone or ivory and around the 1700s, human teeth were actually the most popular tooth replacement. But this practice did not work well so it quickly fell out of practice. Porcelain dentures became the most successful way to replace teeth and by the 1800’s, porcelain was the standard material for crowns. The first modern dental crown was created by Dr. Charles Land in 1903. He created an all-porcelain jacket by taking a broken tooth and reconstructing it with a porcelain cover. This essentially made the tooth look brand new. This dental crown practice was used until the 1950s, which is when dental technologies started developing into what we now use as dental crowns.

Today, dental crowns can be made with four different types of materials:

  • Ceramics – These crowns are made with materials that are porcelain based. The benefit to these fillings are the natural look they give teeth, as the color blends well with natural teeth. Porcelain crowns are best for restoring the front teeth because of this. These crown resist wear-and-tear but can become brittle in cases with heavy biting.
  • Porcelain Fused to Metal – These crowns are attached to the tooth with a metal base and porcelain is then fused to the metal. These crowns make the restoration stronger than if a crown is made of only porcelain. These crowns also better prevent dental decay from recurring. Porcelain fused metal crowns are very durable.
  • Gold Alloys – While there are commonly called gold crowns, these crowns are made up of gold, copper, and other metals. This creates a strong material that supports the tooth. This is a strong material that doesn’t wear or fracture easily. This material also works well with natural gum tissue.
  • Base Metal Alloys – These crowns are made with metals that are strong and resist corrosion. When preparing for crowns made with this material, the dentist is able to remove the least amount of healthy tooth. Additionally, this material is gentle on other teeth that touch the crown.

A question that comes up a lot when discussing crowns is “How long will my crown last?” Depending on the material used to make the crown and the dental care of a person, a crown can have a varying lifespan. On average, dental crowns can last from ten to thirty years. However, there are factors such as dental hygiene practices that affect how long a crown can last. Some crowns may crack after some time due to trauma and sometimes the problem is with the tooth itself. Also, some crowns are simply not fitted properly.

Some tips to prolonging the life of a crown:

  • Brush Your Teeth – It’s always the first thing on the list but brushing your teeth is the most important way to take care of your teeth and your crowns.
  • Avoid Hard Foods – If you regularly bite into hard foods or ice, your crown is at risk of cracking.
  • Wear a Mouth Guard – If you are prone to grinding your teeth in your sleep or participate in sports, wearing a mouth guard protects your teeth and your crowns.
  • Pick the Best Material for You – There are many choices for which material to use for a dental crown, make sure you talk with your dentist and pick the best material for your teeth.

Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to help you understand how dental crowns work. There are a lot of questions to ask if you need a crown: What is it? How long will it take? How much will it cost? We at Carolina’s Dental Choice are happy to answer any questions you may have. If you have questions about replacing current dental crowns or are just ready for a dental checkup, give us a call at 704-289-9519.

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Why is Dental Insurance and Dental Health Not Included in Regular Healthcare?

2020-07-16T17:13:58+00:00July 31st, 2017|Carolina's Dental Choice|

Though dentistry is a medical practice, and is a very important part of an individual’s bodily health, both the medical system and insurance programs do not see it this way. They actually never have. For some strange reason, anything dental related is considered separate from these institutions. Dental insurance and dental health plans are not typically included in regular healthcare, which ends up leaving patients in a pricy predicament that produces negative results. At Carolina’s Dental Choice, we won’t leave you confused as to what is and is not covered. We are committed to taking care of all our patients, and this begins with understanding that dental health is bodily health.

There are countless tales of woe depicting situations where individuals with mild to severe dental issues are not able to receive the care they need because their healthcare provider simply does not cover dental. These individuals end up having to live with the pain caused by cavities, chipped or dead teeth, or even more complicated issues requiring dental surgery. Dental care is simply not seen as a part of one’s health. This makes absolutely no sense. To say there is no link between a person’s dental health and his or her overall health, is completely untrue. Just ask any dentist. Poor oral health can devastate the rest of the body. So why don’t regular healthcare providers see it this way? Well, it’s a bit complicated and extremely antiquated.

 

A Strange History

Nowadays, dentists are known to be highly trained professionals who have endured numerous years learning their craft but this has not always been the case. An article in the Atlantic provides a brief history of dentistry. The article states that up until the 1800s, all dental problems were taken care of by local barbers. Sounds a little strange, huh? Imagine popping in for a quick shave only to have your barber explain that he needs to pull a few teeth. The local barber could become a primitive dentist in a pinch, often times even conducting minor surgeries as well. This was this way dental worked for years because surgery and medicine were seen as two completely different practices. A barber could also be a dentist and a surgeon, since these practices were messy and barbaric. Bad teeth were yanked from the mouth. Open wounds were sewn back up without numbing agents. It didn’t really take someone well practiced as it did someone who could handle dealing with lots of blood and screaming. Whereas the practice of medicine was more refined, requiring intelligence and finesse. Deciding what would help a patient cope with pain and injury took time and education. So it makes sense for the separation between dentistry and medicine. At least it makes sense for back then.

 

But once anesthesia and numbing agents came about, everything changed. Patients could now be put under or numbed, and the practice of surgery and dentistry became more sophisticated. People began to study oral health more seriously, leading to a true profession in the field of dentistry. Even though the idea of dentistry was changing to something proper and professional, the stigma of its previous uncivilized nature was never dropped. Students wishing to pursue studies in dentistry had difficulty

gaining acceptance into medical schools, and they were often left to teach themselves.  

 

 

The Stigma Continues  

Up into the mid 1960s, dentistry was still seen as something not quite connected to our bodily health. It just didn’t carry the same level of importance to society as other medical practices. And when Medicaid was finally established, dental was not included. But that was over fifty years ago, and we know so much more now. It’s clear that oral health is indeed directly connected to our overall health. But for some reason, today’s healthcare providers typically only offer dental for children and pregnant women. The rest of us are on our own. And this is a scary thought seeing how anything beyond a teeth cleaning can end up costing a lot of money. And for those who cannot afford such procedures, they are left to live with the pain. And sadly, this pain usually evolves into more serious issues that cost even more money.

 

According to The Atlantic, “Just 12 states include the full suite of dental services, including common procedures like crowns and root canals, for Medicaid patients. Three offer nothing at all. The rest provide something in between—usually a list of preventative procedures, like cleanings and X-rays, and sometimes extractions and fillings” (Khazan). And the article goes on to say that when state budgets get tight, guess what gets cut first? Yep, anything to do with dental.

 

It Just Doesn’t Add Up

Think of the results of poor oral health, bad breath, missing, or discolored teeth can, at the very minimum, reduce confidence. They can even keep you from getting that job you want or impact relationships with friends and loved ones. On a larger scale, poor oral health can effect your very being. Dental problems can cause chronic headaches, diabetes, and heart problems. Nerves that are connected to your mouth can reverberate pain to other parts of your body, resulting in pain all over, not just in the mouth. Yet our healthcare providers continue to see dental issues as completely separate from other bodily health problems. But aren’t our mouths, and everything inside of them, a part of our body? Uh, yeah. How is it logical then that health insurance plans can decide which parts of our body are to be covered? It just doesn’t add up.

 

It Gets Worse

It’s bad enough that most dental needs are not covered by regular insurance providers, but what’s even worse is that what is covered is incredibly confusing to understand. Usually, the dental procedures included are labeled as “Additional Benefits,” implying they are extra services rather than those that are normally in need by everyone. Healthcare providers also like to explain that they are not required to provide the dental services listed, and that they have the right to discontinue the coverage of any or all of them whenever they want. This means you can go to a dentist one day to have a cavity taken care of, and then come back the very next day for the same procedure only to find out it’s not covered any longer. Healthcare customers are often left in the dark as to which procedures are actually covered. There have been cases of individuals who were covered for a more complicated procedure, such as a root canal, but were not covered for something simple, like a routine cleaning.

What this confusion does, besides cost us more money, is encourage people to not see their dentist regularly. Whereas it is strongly recommended to visit the dentist for a cleaning and checkup every six months, most people only see their local dentist once a year at best. Some just don’t go at all. And this works right into the hands of the healthcare providers. We pay to be insured, they make dental so confusing we don’t end up using it.

 

Let Us Take Care of You

At Carolina’s Dental Choice we are just as upset about the current state of dental insurance as you. That’s why we are clear and up front about everything. We will not only let you know which insurance companies we accept, but we will also help you understand what procedures are covered. Dental care is a health issue, and we take it very seriously. It’s time to get what you are paying for. Begin to take advantage of your provider’s dental coverage, as big or little as it may be.

 

By: Andrae Bergeron

CCP Web Design

Content Writer

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Cosmetic Dentistry That Works With Your Lifestyle

2020-07-16T17:23:49+00:00February 6th, 2017|Carolina's Dental Choice, General|

 

 Cosmetic Dentistry

Looking to improve your smile? Cosmetic dentistry can help bring you confidence through an impeccable smile. Whether you are looking for a simple whitening treatment or complex implants, cosmetic dentistry can work with your lifestyle.

Whitening is a fun and simple treatment that can brighten your teeth by remove stains and discoloration.  This is an easy treatment that can fit all lifestyle. If you are looking for a totally brighter smile making an appointment with Carolina’s Dental Choice is a must. But if you are looking for a simple and affordable method to brighten your smile, using a whitening toothpaste or whitening stripes could be useful.

Another great way to build confidence in your smile, is with veneers. Veneers allow a dentist to enhance the structure of your teeth. This can be with correcting the color, length, or size of a tooth. Veneers are made in porcelain and are permanently bonded to the natural tooth. This procedure can be lengthy or can require little to no preparation. The shorter experiences are done with minimally prepped veneers. This is a great cosmetic option for a variety of lifestyles.

A great cosmetic dentistry option to enhance your smile, is crowns. Crowns are much like veneers, by enhancing the appearance of misshaped or discolored teeth. The cosmetic dental crown covers the teeth by cupping over and encasing the entire surface of the tooth.  This procedure is commonly used to enhance the smile of those in a professional lifestyles.

Overall, cosmetic dentistry is a great option for anyone looking to build confidence in their smile. Whether you have plenty of time or are on a schedule cosmetic dentistry has a procedure that works with all lifestyle. Those looking for a quick process should consider whitening options or minimally prepped veneers. Whichever procedure is right for your lifestyle Carolina’s Dental Choice can help.  

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