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The Pirate's Gold Crown

Aug 17, 2007
Thinking about pirates may conjure up entertaining images of treasure chests, swashbuckling battles, and high jinks on the high seas. But have you taken a good look at their teeth? Crooked, rotting teeth are ugly and unhealthy, but gold crowns can provide strength and panache.

Gold crowns for pirates and landlubbers

A crown (sometimes called a cap) is an excellent solution to restore a damaged tooth. The crown completely covers and protects the part of the tooth that is visible at and above your gumline. This prevents plaque and bacteria from easily attacking the tooth. It also gives strength to the remaining tooth structure, and it can have a very natural shape.

Gold crowns have been available since at least the mid-1700s, a time that coincides with the "golden age" of piracy between the 1680s and 1730s. But you don't have to be a pirate to need one. Youe dentist may recommend a crown to:

(1) Replace a filling, especially if there isn't enough remaining tooth structure to support a new filling.
(2) Prevent a decayed tooth from breaking easily.
(3) Protect a cracked tooth.
(4) Restore a tooth after root canal therapy.
(5) Cover a dental implant or hold a bridge in place.
(6)Provide an alternative for covering discolored teeth.

Gold can be easily shaped into a precisely-fitting crown. Also, less of the tooth structure needs to be removed than for other types of crowns. Because the metal is very strong, gold crowns can withstand the forces of biting and chewing. At the same time, a gold crown on a tooth does not put extra wear against the opposing tooth, making it a good choice for a person's hard-working molars (back teeth).

Gold is very durable and does not chip, break, or wear down easily. With proper care a gold crown may last longer than one made with other types of materials.

Other options for crowns

Depending on your unique situation, several options besides gold crowns may be available, including resin, porcelain fused to metal, or porcelain. Your dentist will work with you to determine the best solution.
Sometimes the dentist may be able to replace a filling rather than restoring the tooth with a crown. However, if the tooth has too much decay or is too weak, a filling may be only a temporary solution.

Pirates and other people who neglect their teeth are only postponing the inevitable. If your dentist recommend a crown and you delay treatment, the situation will only get worse. The untreated tooth becomes more susceptible to bacteria that can invade the pulp and cause increasing decay, infection, and pain. If the tooth breaks or needs to be extracted, this can escalate into problems with shifting teeth, a receding jawbone, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and even more serious problems.

Other options for pirates' teeth

The best ways to minimize your chances of having teeth that look like a pirate's are to brush and floss daily, maintain a healthy diet, and have regular dental checkups. However, having healthy teeth that look like a pirate's can be fun for costume parties and dressing up.

For example, an actor can take advantage of temporary, cosmetic procedures to bond veneers to his real teeth, making them look dramatically different. If you're not in the movies but would like to join in the fun, you might want to participate in the International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19.
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