Everything You Need To Know About Dental Crowns
We have compiled this article on Everything You Need To Know About Dental Crowns. The reference links are at the bottom of the article.
What Is A Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a custom-made, permanent restoration. Basically, it is an artificial tooth.
A dental crown looks like a hollow, tooth-shaped ‘cap’ which is cemented onto an existing natural tooth (or onto a dental implant).
Dental crowns are made out of ceramic (porcelain) which is a highly aesthetic material. They are seamlessly matched to the shape and colour of your existing teeth. Dental crowns will look, function and feel just like a natural tooth.
When cemented into place, crowns completely cover the entire visible portion of the tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
A dental crown has two main purposes:
- To restore strength and functionality to a tooth that has been severely weakened or damaged and is no longer structurally sound. This allows the natural tooth be retained, where it may otherwise need to be extracted.
- To improve or restore the aesthetic appearance of a natural tooth such as colour, shape, length or alignment. This can include covering broken, chipped, stained, discoloured or misshapen teeth.
A dental crown will also protect the tooth from further wear and breakdown.
- Reshaping or rotating teeth
- Closing spaces between teeth
- Restoring length on worn teeth
Crowns are also used in dental implant cases to replace missing teeth that have been lost due to disease, decay or an accident. A dental implant is an artificial root that is inserted into the jawbone to support and hold the crown in place, where there is no natural tooth or root structure to do so.
Crowns are often necessary for the following scenarios:
- Large cavities that can’t be filled.
- Missing teeth when a bridge is needed.
- Coverage for dental implants.
- Cracked, worn down, or weak teeth.
- Restoration after a root canal.
- Cosmetic reasons like discolored or badly shaped teeth.
- Crowns can also be used in pediatric dentistry; for example, if baby teeth have been damaged by decay, in extreme scenarios where poor oral hygiene or an aversion to general anesthesia demands the procedure, a crown might be appropriate.
Before installing permanent crowns, a dentist will prep their patient’s teeth by shaving them down to ensure there is a properly shaped base to adhere the crown to. Once the teeth are shaved down, temporary crowns created from a mold of the patient’s natural teeth will be placed. These temporary crowns help protect the newly shaved down teeth from damage and ensure that the patient can function normally until their permanent crowns are installed. Since the temporary crowns will only need to last for a few weeks, they are made from less expensive materials such as acrylic or certain types of metal.
On the other hand, permanent dental crowns are built to withstand the test of time. They’re crafted from ceramic, resin, or porcelain and some are fused with metal to provide additional support. Once the dentist has finished creating the permanent crowns, the patient will return to the office for the final phase of the procedure. The dentist will remove the temporary crowns, clean the patient’s teeth and gums thoroughly, and then install the permanent crowns with strong dental adhesive. Once the crowns are installed, the patient will be released with aftercare instructions.
Stainless steel crowns are often used for children to protect a primary tooth from additional decay—that way, when the permanent tooth arrives, the crown comes out naturally.
Metal crowns normally include alloys with a high gold/platinum content, or base-metal alloys like cobalt-chromium and nickel-chromium. These alloys can endure the wear and tear of long-term biting and chewing, and are considered very durable since they rarely chip or break. The color is the main disadvantage, which is why they’re often used for molars near the back of the mouth.
This type of crown is a solid option for front or back teeth, or when a bridge demands the strength provided by the metal. The advantage of the porcelain is appearance, as the color can be matched to neighboring teeth. However, porcelain does have its disadvantages: it shows more wear, can chip or break off, and a dark metal “line” can show through over time.
This is a relatively new type of crown that has picked up popularity in the past few years due to their great aesthetics and longevity. The strength and durability of this material translates to a lower risk of cracking and chipping compared to all-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns.
Easily considered the best cosmetic choice, these dental crowns provide a natural color match that’s far better than any of the other materials, and they’re definitely more suitable for patients with any metal allergies. All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns are often used in front-teeth restorations because they give the most natural look. The biggest drawback to these crowns is they are not as strong as metal crowns but if maintained properly, they can last for many years.
What Problems Can Develop With A Dental Crown?
There are several issues that you might experience over time with your crown, including:
A newly crowned tooth may be sensitive immediately after the procedure as the anesthesia begins to wear off. If the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it, you may experience some heat and cold sensitivity. Your dentist might recommend that you brush your teeth with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Pain or sensitivity that happens when you bite down usually means that the crown is too high on the tooth. If this is the case, call your dentist. This problem is easily fixed.
Crowns made of all porcelain can sometimes chip. Small chips can be repaired and the crown can remain in your mouth. The dental crown may need to be replaced if the chip is large or when there are many chips.
Sometimes, the cement that holds the crown on can wash out from under the crown. Not only does this allow the crown to become loose, it allows bacteria to leak in and cause decay to the tooth that remains. If your crown feels loose, contact your dentist’s office.
The metals used to make dental crowns are often a mixture of several metals. You can have an allergic reaction to the metal or porcelain that’s used in the dental crown. However, this is extremely rare.
Thank you for reading this article and check back frequently for other dental health articles. Should you have any questions, please contact Apple Tree Dental today!
Article compiled by Apple Tree Dental
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