The Ultimate Guide to Dental Crowns

dental crowns

Did you had an accident and hit or jaw badly? Or did you hit something hard while playing on the field? Your doctor would have recommended dental crowns to replace damaged natural teeth, broken or fractured teeth. 

This is the ultimate guide on Dental Crowns. Learn about the need, types, and procedures of Dental Crowns.

First, let’s discuss the reasons that cause the tooth to break. 

chipped teeth and dental crowns

Cause of Chipped Teeth

The outer part of our natural teeth is known as enamel. It is the tough coating of your teeth and is one of the strongest substances in the body.

But like every other part of the body, it has its limits.

A forceful blow or excessive wear and tear can cause teeth to chip. This results in a jagged tooth surface that can be sharp, tender, and disfiguring.

Some common causes of chipped teeth are:

  • Biting a hard substance like ice or hard candy
  • Falls or car accidents can cause a chip or fracture in the tooth or teeth
  • Playing sports without wearing mouth guards
  • Grinding your teeth when you sleep

Risk Factors

Weakened teeth are more likely to chip than stronger ones. Some things that reduce the strength of the tooth are as follows:

Cavities and tooth decay eat away the enamel and cause large fillings. These fillings tend to weaken the tooth.

Moreover, Teeth grinding can cause the enamel of the tooth to wear off.

Also, eating food like spicy food and drinks that contain a lot of sugar can break down the enamel and leave the surface exposed for bacteria to damage it.

Digestive issues like acid flux and heartburn can bring acid into the mouth that damages the enamel of the tooth.

Also as we get older, our enamel weakens which causes cracks in the teeth.

Due to the above-mentioned reasons, your dentist can recommend you getting a dental crown.

what is a dental crown

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is like a cap for damaged natural teeth. It is used to restore the shape of the broken tooth, to improve its appearance, etc.

 The crown when cemented into the place of the broken tooth encases the entire portion of the tooth that lies above and below the gum line.

It is made of a number of materials like metal or porcelain.

Need For the Crown

A crown may be needed in the following situations:

To protect the weak tooth from breaking.

It is needed to restore an already broken tooth or a natural tooth that is severely worn down.

Moreover, it can be used to cover and support a tooth with a large filling.

It is also used to hold a dental bridge.

girl in dentists officeSelecting a Dental Crown

Consult your dentist before you select a crown. Consider the following factors:

  • Your tooth’s location
  • How much of your tooth is visible
  • Position of the gum tissue
  • The function of the tooth that needs a crown
  • Remaining natural tooth

You can also consult your dentist about your personal preference.

Types of Crowns

Your dentist will ask you for your preference of material before the fabrication of the crown.

Below are the different types of materials used for making dental crowns. 

Stainless steel

This type of crown is used for a child who needs a dental crown to cover the primary tooth. However, if this crown is to be used for an adult, it is temporarily.

These temporary crowns are used to cover the tooth and filling while your dentist prepares your permanent crown. In case your dentist offers same-day crowns, then temporary crowns may not be required.

Metal

This is the strongest type of crown that is non-abrasive to the opposing teeth.

Multiple metals can be used to make this crown-like gold, platinum, copper and base metal alloys, etc.

Most of these crowns are a mixture of metals and primarily contain base metal alloys.

These are used mostly to restore the molars because of their strength.

Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM)

These are similar to metal crowns with the exception that they have a porcelain coating over the metal base.

These are a popular type of crown as they provide the strength to the metal as well as aesthetics of porcelain crown. 

However, they are abrasive to the opposing teeth.

All Porcelain Crowns

These crowns use entirely porcelain or ceramic materials.

This type is usually recommended for patients who are allergic to metals.

They are ideal for cosmetic dentistry treatments because of their ability to improve the contour and color of the teeth.

They might not be as strong as PFM are but they are not abrasive on opposing teeth.

All resin

This type of crown is composed of resin and is metal-free.

These are highly affordable but are significantly weaker than other types of crowns.

This type of crown is more likely to chip, crack or wear down faster as compared to others.

patient at dentist's office How is a Dental Crown Placed?

You will have to visit the dentist at least twice for your crown to be prepared.

Your dentist will take a dental X-ray to check the roots of the tooth that is receiving the crown.

The steps involved are:

Step 1: Examining and Preparing the Tooth

In this step, your dentist will take a dental X-ray to see how much the tooth has been damaged.

He or she will also check the roots of the tooth that is receiving the crown

If your tooth has extensive decay or there has been an injury to the pulp, your dentist will perform a root canal first.

Before the procedure, your dentist will numb the area around the tooth and gum tissue. Your dentist will reshape the damaged tooth to make room for the crown.

In case, a large part of the tooth is missing, your dentist will use the filling to buildup the tooth to support the crown.

After reshaping the tooth, your dentist will take an impression of the tooth.

This impression helps to make the crown and to make sure it will not affect your bite.

Impressions are made in the dental labs by the technicians. as mentioned above, they can be made of your choice of material and preference. 

It usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks for the technician to prepare your crown. Until then, a temporary crown will be placed to cover the damaged crown.

This step is taken to ensure that the infection does not spread to other teeth.

 Step 2: Receiving the Permanent Crown

During your second visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown. After removing it, he or she will check the fit and color of the permanent crown.

If it fits, your dentist will give you local anesthesia to numb the area of the tooth. The new crown is then cemented with a dental cement

Dental cement is composed of various materials and its uses depend on the range of orthodontic and dental applications.

Common uses of dental cement include restoration of teeth, cavity lining to provide pulpal protection, and cementing fixed prosthodontic appliances.

post care Post Care

Most dentists suggest that you take a few precautions after the crown is placed. These are:

Your dentist will ask you to avoid sticky and chewy foods which can pull off the crown.

You should minimize the use of the side where the crown is placed.

Avoid eating hard food which can dislodge or break your crown.

Flossing your teeth daily can keep your teeth in a proper shape.

In case you grind and clench your teeth, he or she will recommend using a nightguard to protect your crown and surrounding teeth.

Complications

In most cases, the crown proves to be very useful.

But there are certain risks and complications that you might face after getting the crown.

Teeth Sensitivity

After getting your crown, you might feel sensitive to heat or cold.

However, if you put pressure on the crown while biting down it the fit may be off.

Talk to your dentist as soon as possible to change the position of the crown.

Chipped Crown

Porcelain crowns are more vulnerable to chipping as compared to other materials.

The porcelain crowns may break away revealing the metal surface underneath.

These chips may not need to be repaired if the metal is intact.

Allergic Reaction

Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the metal used in crowns.

Gum Disease

Your gums will feel sore or irritated after the crown is placed in your mouth.

If in case it starts to bleed, you may be developing gum disease.

dental crown advantagesAdvantages of Dental Crowns

Crowns provide an effective solution to dental problems. These advantages are:

It supports the tooth that is significantly damaged due to tooth decay.

It will protect the tooth that has been worn from further damage.

Your crown will also protect the tooth after the procedure of the root canal.

Dental crowns are a long-term solution to your worn down and damaged teeth and usually last for 5-15 years.

Factors to Consider While Choosing a Crown

While choosing a crown for your tooth, you should consider the following factors:

  • The cost
  • The strength of the crown
  • The durability of the crown

You can discuss with your dentist different options for the crown and will help you to figure out what best meets your needs.

How Long Do Crowns Last?

The life span of a crown varies from 5 to 15 years while some may last longer.

Studies suggest that crown placement and other factors could affect the results of placing a crown that uses different materials like zirconia.

According to dentists, a gold crown and porcelain fused to metal crowns tend to last longer.

All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns may look good and natural but they are not strong enough and durable. These types of crowns tend to wear down faster as well.

closeup of a crownConclusion

Chipped and cracked teeth can cause infection and inflammation. Due to its damaged shape, it can make eating difficult for you.

Consult your dentist and inform him about your preference for the material to be used for making the crown. 

After the treatment, certain side effects can be seen like sensitivity; swelling, etc but this effect subsides with time.

You should take care of your dental crowns after the treatment.

You should avoid eating sticky and hard food so that the crown may not fall off.

 

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