Dental Crowns: What Are They, Types, Procedure, & Care
What Are Dental Crowns?
You’ve chipped a tooth in an injury, or maybe you’ve had a root canal treatment done. Either way, your tooth is damaged. Dental crowns are caps or coverings that are tooth-shaped. These are placed over-treated or damaged teeth to retain their functional and structural integrities. They’re made of a variety of materials like porcelain, metal, resin, and ceramic. Before developing and using crowns, the line of treatment for decayed or damaged teeth was extractions.
One would require dental crowns under the following circumstances –
- If your tooth is cracked or broken but still vital. Crowns cover the tooth to prevent any further damage and rehabilitate the structure and function.
- Stained, discolored, or misshapen teeth that can’t be treated by bleaching or veneers are also restored by dental crowns.
- A tooth that has undergone root canal treatment requires a crown.
- Dental crowns are also used in instances where a dental bridge is required to hold them in place.
- If the tooth in question has a large filling with not much of the original structure remaining, it needs a crown to prevent fracturing.
- Dental crowns are also a part of dental implants, replacing the missing tooth or teeth.
- In younger children, a decayed tooth that cannot be restored is aided with a dental crown to prevent it from shedding too early. If there is a premature loss of a tooth, it can lead to developmental issues especially malocclusions.
Dental Crowns – Types
Dental crowns are of many types, particularly concerning the material they’re made of. These include –
- Metal crowns are the most resilient among all the different materials. They rarely get damaged and also last the longest in terms of wear. Additionally, not a lot of tooth has to be cut down to fit a metal crown. But the biggest drawback, however, is that they aren’t aesthetically appealing, which means they can’t be used on any teeth that might be visible when the patient smiles.
- PFM or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns have a metal base with porcelain applied on top. They have improved aesthetics compared to metal crowns. The drawbacks of PFM crowns are the metallic color that peeks through the porcelain and a higher chance of chipping.
- All-resin crowns are comparatively cheaper than their counterparts but they break easily and wear quickly over time.
- All-ceramic and all-porcelain crowns are perfect for people who have a metal allergy or for those who want a higher aesthetic appeal. But they aren’t as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and can wear the opposing teeth a little more than the other crowns.
Your dentist will decide on which material of crown to use after considering the following factors –
- Location of the tooth
- How much of the tooth is visible when you smile
- Gum tissue position
- The function of the tooth that requires the crown
- The amount of the remaining natural tooth structure
- Color of the adjacent teeth
Dental Crowns – Procedure
Getting a dental crown is a relatively easy procedure and requires 2-3 visits to your dental office. In most instances, the tooth preparation is carried out in the first sitting, and the dental crown is delivered in the second. If there is a decayed tooth present in the oral cavity, the number of sittings might increase.
If there is any diseased portion present, it is removed and the tooth structure (enamel) is cut down or trimmed to make space for the crown attachment. A lot of times, teeth requiring a dental crown have to undergo a root canal treatment.
The tooth preparation is dependent on the material of the crown that is to be applied. Metal crowns require minimal preparation since they’re made very thin. On the other hand, porcelain or PFM crowns are a lot thicker and the teeth have to be cut down a lot more.
Post preparation, your dentist takes impressions of your teeth and oral cavity and sends it to the dental lab for fabrication of the crown. A temporary crown might be placed over your tooth until the next appointment and this protects it from any sensitivity or fracture.
In the final visit, the dentist places the dental crown on your tooth and ensures that it properly fits. If the fit is perfect, the crown is then cemented into place. You will be asked to bite down to see if the crown is level with the rest of the teeth. Any adjustments that are needed are done before the crown is cemented.
Dental Crowns – Care
The average life span of a dental crown is anywhere from 5 to 15 years. The longevity is dependent on the wear-and-tear they face and the level of care taken for their maintenance. Like any other prosthesis, dental crowns require the same level of care as you would apply to your natural teeth. Brushing twice a day along with flossing are just some of the steps involved in prolonging not only your teeth’ life but also your dental crowns’.
Gold and porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns tend to last the longest. And while all-ceramic and all-porcelain crowns may look more aesthetic, they’re not as strong as metal and PFM crowns.
Your dentist will advise you to skip sticky and hard foods since they have the propensity to fracture or damage the dental crown. Additionally, patients who clench or grind their teeth are advised to incorporate habit-breaking appliances or mouth guards to avoid damage to the dental crowns.
And of course, regular visits to your dental practitioner are also imperative to avoid any potential issues that might arise.
Dental crowns also carry the small risk of issues like –
- Sensitivity: Occurs after the tooth is cut down to make space for the crown. Usually resolves on its own.
- Gum disease: Common in patients who don’t pay attention to their oral health.
- Allergic reactions: Although very rare, some patients might be allergic to the crown material.
River Rock Dental located in downtown Shakopee offers a comprehensive insight into the world of dental crowns. If you feel like you’re a candidate for a crown, get in touch with our expert team at 952-445-5556. We are committed to excellence and giving our patients a reason to flaunt that smile!