What Are Crowns and Why Are They Used?A crown is a restoration that covers, or caps, a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size. Its purpose is to strengthen or improve the appearance of tooth. A crown is placed to replace a large filling when there isn't enough tooth remaining to refill, to protect teeth from fracturing, to restore fractured teeth or to cover badly shaped or discolored teeth. It may also be used to attach a bridge. It is especially important to remove plaque with dental floss when you have dental crowns to prevent gum disease. The Cracked Tooth Have you ever felt a sharp pain when you bite down? Does the pain disappear, only to return again? You might have a cracked tooth. A crack is a defect in the tooth structure that occurs because of diet, trauma, temperature extremes or just aging. If you like to chew ice, nuts, hard candy, hard pretzels or unpopped popcorn kernels- or if you have a habit of chewing on hard objects like pencils, you are at risk of cracking your teeth. Heat, which causes the tooth to dry out, can also increase the chance of cracks occurring. People who grind their teeth or clench their jaws are more susceptible to cracks because of the tremendous pressure exerted on the teeth. The fact that people live longer today increases the likelihood that that will eventually develop cracks in their teeth. Any pain, even if it is fleeting, or sensitivity to cold, heat or sweetness should be brought to our attention to determine whether you have a cracked tooth. The sooner the crack is discovered, the better the chance for successful treatment.