A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap or covering placed over a treated tooth to retain its structural and functional integrities. Crowns are made out of many materials such as metals, porcelain, resin, and ceramics. Before the development and use of crowns, the mode of treatment for diseased and decaying teeth was extractions.
When Would I Need A Dental Crown?
- A tooth that is cracked, or broken, but still vital requires the use of a dental crown to maintain its structure and function.
- Discolored, misshapen, or stained teeth that cannot be fixed by bleaching or veneers need to be restored with dental crowns.
- A root canal treated tooth also necessitates the application of a crown.
- Moreover, dental crowns are used to hold a dental bridge in place.
- Teeth with large fillings and not much tooth structure remaining have to be topped off with a crown to prevent fracture.
- Dental crowns take the place of the missing tooth with dental implants.
- In kids, if there is a tooth that is decayed, but can’t be restored, needs a dental crown to prevent it from premature loss. In cases where the primary teeth shed before their time, there is a huge risk of misalignment of future teeth.
Types of Dental Crowns
Permanent crowns are made of various materials. These include –
- Metal: Metal crowns are the most resilient of all the crowns. They rarely chip or break, and last the longest in terms of wear and tear. Moreover, only a small portion of the tooth has to be removed to fit a metallic crown. However, their metallic color is the biggest drawback since they’re not aesthetically pleasing.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM): PFM crowns are made of a metal base with porcelain laid on top. Which means they are pretty aesthetic compared to only metal crowns. But the drawbacks include the metallic color showing through the porcelain, and higher chances of the crown chipping.
- All-resin: Although all-resin crowns are cheaper than their counterparts, they are more prone to breakage and wear over time.
- All-ceramic / all-porcelain: If you have a metal allergy, or are simply looking for higher aesthetics, all-ceramic and all-porcelain crowns are for you. However, they aren’t as strong as PFM crowns and wear the opposing tooth/teeth a little more than the rest.
Dental Crown Procedure
The process of getting a dental crown isn’t a tedious one. It warrants 2-3 visits to your dentist. Usually, the tooth preparation is done in the first seating, and the crown is attached in the second. In cases where there is a requirement of treating a tooth for decay, the number of appointments might increase.
After taking care of any diseased portion present in the tooth, the structure (enamel) is trimmed down to make room for the dental crown. In most instances, a tooth requiring a dental crown has to undergo a root canal treatment.
The amount of preparation done depends on the material of the crown that will be applied. Metal crowns are sturdier and are made very thin. So teeth receiving these do not require a lot of trimming, as opposed to those receiving porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. As understood, porcelain or PFM dental crowns are much thicker, so they require more space to fit.
After preparing the tooth, your dentist will take impressions of your oral cavity, and send it to the lab for fabrication. They might place a temporary crown over your teeth until your next appointment. This protects your tooth from fracture or any sensitivity.
On your next visit, your dentist will place the final dental crown on your tooth. And if the fit is right, it is cemented into place. The patient will be asked to bite down on the crown to see if its level with all the other teeth. Any adjustments to be made in the crown is done before the final cementation.
Caring for Your Dental Crowns
On average, dental crowns last anywhere between 5 to 15 years. Their life span depends on the amount of wear-and-tear they’re exposed to, and also the level of care taken to maintain them.
Dental crowns necessitate the same care as you would for your normal teeth. Brushing your teeth twice every day, and flossing in between are key steps in prolonging the life of not only your teeth but also your dental crowns.
Patients are advised to avoid chewing on hard foods as they might damage or fracture the dental crown. Sticky foods also carry a risk of displacing the crown.
People with oral habits such as clenching, or grinding are advised to use mouth guards or habit breaking appliances, as these habits can damage the crowns over time.
Regular dental visits are also advocated to keep any potential issues at bay.
Complications with Dental Crowns
- Sensitivity or discomfort: You might feel sensitivity or slight discomfort in your tooth once the anesthesia starts wearing off. However, it will subside on its own, or with the help of over-the-counter medication. If the tooth with the new crown hasn’t been treated with an RCT, you might feel a little hot and cold sensitivity. Nonetheless, if you feel significant pain on chewing, you might want to revisit your dentist.
- Gum disease: If proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained, food particles can get entrapped in the small spaces between crown and gums, leading to gum disease.
- Loose crown: If you feel like your dental crown keeps displacing while talking or eating, it’s possible that it wasn’t fitted properly, or the cement has washed out. Visit your dentist if you feel that that is the case because the space between the tooth and crown can harbor bacteria, causing an infection.
- Chipped crown: A crack or fracture might occur if the tooth experiences external trauma. This can happen in cases of chewing hard food, or accidents. Small chips or cracks can be easily repaired. Fractures, on the other hand, might involve replacements.
- Allergic reactions: Although very rare, allergic reactions to the crown material can occur.
If you feel like you require a dental crown, get in touch with our exceptionally skilled team at Minneapolis Dental today. Call us at 612-332-1255 to book an appointment today. And we’ll help you figure out what type of crown is the right fit for you.