Dental Crowns – Purpose
Dental crowns are caps that are tooth-shaped and placed over teeth. They are used to restore a tooth’s structural, functional, and aesthetic integrities. When crowns are cemented into place, they cover the tooth from all sides, encasing the entire visible portion that is present above and at the gum line.
Crowns are advised in the following cases –
- To protect weak teeth from breaking (in instances of decay or cracked teeth)
- To restore a severely worn down tooth
- Over root canal treated teeth
- To support a dental bridge
- To cover discolored or misshapen teeth
- On top of a dental implant as abutment
- For cosmetic purposes
There are many types of crowns available. They are as follows –
- Stainless steel crowns are temporary crowns used on permanent teeth. These are prefabricated and protect the tooth or filling while the permanent crown is being made. They are also used in children to protect a decaying tooth from further decay. These are the most cost-effective, especially for using on primary teeth in children.
- Metal crowns include are usually made of gold, platinum, cobalt-chromium alloy, or nickel-chromium alloy. These withstand chewing and biting forces well and last the longest in terms of wear. Due to their strength, they rarely chip or break.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns that are color-matched to your teeth. While pretty aesthetic, the porcelain layer of the crown can chip or break off. Additionally, the opposing teeth experience more wear compared to metal crowns.
- All-resin crowns are cheaper than the other crown options. However, they have a lot of wear and can fracture easily.
- All-porcelain or all-ceramic dental crowns are the most aesthetic options and are suitable for patients who are allergic to metal.
Dental Crowns – Procedure
Getting fitted for a crown is usually a 2-appointment procedure. Your dentist will consider the following factors before deciding the material for your crown –
- The location of the tooth
- The position of the gum tissue
- The affected tooth’s function
- The amount of natural tooth remaining
- How much of the tooth is visible when you smile
- Color of the adjacent teeth
The first visit involves a thorough examination of the oral cavity, including X-rays of the tooth in question. In case your dentist at River Rock finds extensive decay or risk of injury or infection to the pulp, they might perform a root canal treatment.
The affected tooth and surrounding gum tissue will be numbed using local anesthesia. The tooth will then be reshaped to make room for the dental crown. The amount of tooth material that is cut down depends on the material of the crown that is chosen.
After the reshaping, impressions of both the upper and lower jaws are taken and sent to a dental lab where the crown will be manufactured. Your dentist might place a temporary crown to protect the tooth until the final fitting.
The crown is made and returned to your dentist’s office within 2-3 weeks, which is when you will have your second appointment. The temporary crown will be removed. Your dentist will check the color and fit of the final crown. If they are satisfied with the crown, they will cement it into place.
Dental Crowns – Complications
- You might feel slight discomfort or sensitivity when the anesthesia begins to wear off after the procedure. You may experience some hot and cold sensitivity, particularly if the tooth with the crown has a nerve in it. If you experience pain or sensitivity when biting down on the crown, it means that it is placed too high on the tooth. In such a case, call your dentist to fix the issue. You might also be advised to brush your teeth with toothpaste specific for sensitive teeth.
- All-porcelain or PFM crowns have the potential to chip. In case the chip is small, it can be repaired with composite resin within the mouth. In cases of extensive chipping, the crown might need to be replaced.
- If the cement holding the crown in place is washed out from under it, it can cause the crown to become loose. It can also lead to bacterial accumulation and tooth decay.
- Loosening of the cement or decay can cause the crown to fall off. If you experience this, clean the front of the tooth and the crown. You can replace it temporarily using a dental adhesive or temporary tooth cement sold in stores. Get in touch with your dentist immediately. They will give you specific instructions to care for your tooth and crown until you can come in. Your dentist will try to re-cement the crown on the tooth. If they’re not able to, a new crown will need to be made.
- Although rare, some patients can experience allergic reactions to the mixture of metals used to make a crown.
- If you have a PFM crown fitted, you might notice a dark line next to the gum line of the crowned tooth. This is the metal part of the crown showing through. While it isn’t a complication in itself, it might appear less aesthetic. Ask your dentist to replace it with an all-porcelain or all-ceramic one if you find it unsightly.
Dental Crowns – Care
Once your tooth has been fitted with a crown, it is important to take great care of it. Proper care ensures a crown’s long life. Here is how you can do it –
- If you’re not brushing twice a day, the time has come to incorporate it. Practice careful brushing and use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth if you feel that your teeth or crown are sensitive to varying temperatures.
- Floss once a day to get rid of any plaque that might accumulate on the gum line. Slide the floss instead of pulling it to prevent dislodgment of the crown.
- Avoid chewy or hard foods as these can cause the crown to chip or crack.
- If you have a habit of clenching or grinding at night, your dentist will advise using a nightguard to protect not only the crown but also the surrounding teeth.
For further information on dental crowns, feel free to get in touch with River Rock Dental.