A dental crown is a restoration that covers or caps a tooth, restoring it to its normal size and shape while strengthening and improving its appearance. Crowns are necessary when the tooth is broken down to the point where a filling will not be effective.
Benefits of Dental Crowns
A dental crown can be used for various reasons including covering discolored or misshapen teeth, and in conjunction with bridges and dental implants. Other benefits of dental crowns may include:
- Holding a cracked tooth together to prevent further damage
- Covering and supporting a tooth with a large filling
- Restoring a broken tooth
Dental Crown Procedure
The dental crown process takes place in two phases or appointments. At the first appointment, the tooth is prepared by filing or reshaping, so the crown can fit in securely and comfortably. The area around the tooth is numbed throughout the procedure with a local anesthetic. After the tooth is prepared, an impression is made of the teeth and gums using a paste or putty. The impression is then sent to a laboratory to make a custom crown, which usually takes two to three weeks. Patients are given a temporary dental crown until the permanent crown is ready.
At the second appointment, the new crown is inspected for proper fit and tooth color. The temporary crown is then removed and the new one is cemented onto the tooth.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are several different methods of crown restoration, each using a different crown material. Different types of crown material include:
Metal crowns are made entirely of a metal alloy that may include gold, platinum, palladium, or other elements. Compared with other kinds of crowns, metal crowns preserve more of the tooth structure. They withstand biting and chewing forces well and rarely chip or break. The biggest drawback of metal crowns is the metallic color.
Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal or PFM Crowns
PFM crowns can be color-matched to the teeth. Second only to all-ceramic crowns in appearance, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look like normal teeth. In some cases, the metal underlying the crown‘s porcelain can create a dark line. PFM crowns tend to wear down opposing teeth more than metal crowns. The crown‘s porcelain portion can also chip or break.
All resin crowns are the least expensive type of dental crown. The drawback is that they are more prone to chips and fractures than other crowns and tend to wear down over time.
Ceramic or Porcelain Crowns
These crowns provide the best natural color of all the dental crowns. They are not as strong as PFM or gold crowns, and they may wear down opposing teeth more than metal or resin crowns. Because they are the most cosmetically pleasing, they are commonly used for the front teeth.
Complications of Dental Crowns
Some patients experience increased sensitivity immediately after the procedure, particularly if the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it. For sensitivity to heat and cold, some patients are advised to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Other complications that may occur with dental crowns are:
Pain or Sensitivity When Biting
This usually means that the crown is too high on the tooth. If this is the case, the dentist will be able to fix the problem by adjusting the crown.
Chip in a Porcelain Crown
Resin can be used to repair the remaining crown. If the chipping is extensive, the entire crown may need to be replaced.
Loose Dental Crown
If the cement washes out from underneath the crown, bacteria can then leak in and cause decay. A dentist should be consulted to resecure the crown to alleviate the problem.
In some cases, a dental crown may fall off entirely. If this happens, contact the dentist immediately. The dentist may be able to replace the crown or create a new crown if necessary.
With proper oral hygiene, dental crowns can last from five to fifteen years. Patients should consult with their dentist to see if dental crowns are appropriate for their individual condition.
What Is a Dental Crown?
Drs. Spiguzza, Holly, and Champion of Carolina Dental Care describe the dental crown as a restoration commonly used to cover a broken or significantly damaged tooth. Also known as a dental cap, the crown is created to match the shape, size, and color of the patient’s existing teeth to seamlessly integrate into the smile without standing out as a dental restoration. Our team in Loris, SC, will ensure that the restoration appears as natural as possible with the use of an experienced dental laboratory and ceramist.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Dental Crown?
Almost all patients are good candidates for dental crowns. Situations that may require a dental crown include the following:
- Placement of a crown after root canal therapy to protect the weakened and brittle tooth
- Placement of a crown after a large filling is used to treat a cavity, ensuring the tooth is protected from further damage
- Placement of a crown over the abutment of a dental implant to replace one single tooth
- Placement of a crown fused with false teeth called pontics to create a dental bridge
- Placement of a crown over a cracked or severely chipped tooth, specifically the molar teeth
Are There Different Types of Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns can be fabricated from a variety of different materials, including metal and gold. However, our team at Carolina Dental Care in Loris, SC, finds that the use of porcelain crowns is best. This is because porcelain mimics the appearance of natural tooth enamel and can be created by a ceramist to match the color of the existing teeth. This allows the crown to be placed without looking noticeable.
How Long Will a Dental Crown Last?
With proper care, you can expect your dental crown to last many years before it needs to be replaced. If you experience your dental crown loosening or breakage, it may require replacement sooner rather than later.
What Does a Dental Crown Procedure Involve?
Obtaining a dental crown occurs in two appointments. During the first visit, our doctors will evaluate you and decide if a dental crown is best. The tooth is numbed with local anesthetics, and the structure of the tooth is partially removed, leaving the core of the tooth. Then, impressions are made, sent to a laboratory, and you have a temporary restoration bonded over the prepared tooth. Within a week or two, you return back to the office for the removal of your temporary crown and the placement of your final one.
What Complications Could Develop With a Dental Crown?
Because there is still tooth structure underneath the crown, the tooth is still susceptible to cavities and disease, especially along the gum line where the crown and gums meet. This is why it is vital that you maintain good oral health and hygiene after dental crown placement, including brushing and flossing around your restoration. Regular dental evaluations and cleanings also allow the team at Carolina Dental Care to monitor the health of the restoration and your smile to catch problems early enough for successful intervention.