A crown is an artificial restoration that is made to fit over a tooth. Crowns strengthen and cover damaged teeth and provides a damaged tooth the shape and function just like the original natural tooth. Crowns are often recommended when you have tooth decay or a chipped, broken, or cracked tooth.
Crowns are a great approach to fix teeth that have been weakened by a very large filling, decay, or teeth that have been broken. A cap could be used for several reasons, for instance:
- It may aid in holding a denture or bridge firmly in place.
- The patient has had a rotted filling and requires a crown to shield what is left of the tooth.
- The patient may have a stained filling and prefers to enhance the tooth’s appearance.
There are many options when it comes to crowns. Ceramic and porcelain crowns can also match another tooth's natural color. Other materials used include gold and acrylic. The metal alloys are more durable than porcelain, which makes them excellent options for back teeth. If you prefer durable and attractive crowns, consider porcelain bonded to a metal shell.
Types of Crowns
There are three predominant types of crowns based on the material used:
- Metal alloy: Hence its name, this type of crown contains an all-metal material. Gold, chromium, nickel, and palladium are examples. While metal crowns are the most durable and long-lasting compared to the other two types (below), their metallic appearance is its main disadvantage. Metal alloy crowns are ideal for posterior molars.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal: A hybrid of metal alloy and dental ceramic. The main advantage of this type of crown is its tooth-like coloration. Although strong and sturdy, porcelain crowns tend to cause significant wear on their opposing teeth. Likewise, it's known for separating from its metal-based foundation with time. Another drawback for this kind of crown is the emergence of an unsightly "dark line." Dark lines usually happen with the metal edge's appearance due to periodontal changes such as gum recession.
- Porcelain or ceramic: This kind of prosthetic is preferable for patients with allergies to metal. Its natural coloration makes it a desirable option for areas where aesthetics is of utmost priority, such as the front teeth. On the downside, its susceptibility to breakage and chipping makes it a little less robust than the other types of crowns.
What are Crowns Made of?
Dental crowns use a broad range of materials, including:
All-ceramic: A metal-free option. It can provide the strength of a bonded crown and appears like that of a porcelain crown. Hence, it is appropriate for use in many areas of the mouth.
Porcelain bonded to precious metal: Typical dental crown with a metal base and porcelain applied in layers above.
Porcelain: These are manufactured entirely out of porcelain. However, porcelain isn't as durable as bonded crowns. The good thing about them is that they look like a natural teeth and are used more frequently for front teeth.
Gold-alloy Crowns: In reality, gold is considered one of the oldest filling materials. At present, it is utilized with other metal alloys to enhance its strength, which makes it quite serviceable. Typically, they are silver or gold in color.
Glass: Used in all areas of the mouth, they appear very natural.
Why Do You Need a Crown?
Dentists may recommend a crown in response to various dental needs. A few of these reasons include:
- To encase a tooth that underwent a root canal treatment
- To conceal a dental implant
- To cover a stained or poorly formed tooth
- For the restoration of a broken tooth
- To strengthen a weak tooth as a cause of decay or to hold a cracked tooth together to prevent it from breaking entirely
- To support a bridge
- To replace or cover a large filling when there is not enough tooth left
A minimum of two dental appointments is needed. At the initial visit, the dentist will need to prepare the tooth, take the impressions, record the information and shade of the patient’s tooth, and then fit the temporary crown. The next visit will be the time for the dentist to fit the permanent crown. Please be guided that there will typically be about one to two weeks between appointments.
What to Expect at Your First Appointment
The dentist will first prepare the tooth to the right shape for the crown. This composes of clearing away a layer of the outer surface and at the same time leaving a strong inner core. Take note that the amount of tooth extracted will be the same as the crown's thickness.
By the time the tooth is shaped, then the dentist will take a mold or impression of the prepared tooth. This is done on one of the opposing jaws and perhaps the other to demonstrate the manner you bite together.
Afterward, the mold or impression will be handed to a dental technician, along with the vital information needed and other data regarding what shade to use.
Next, the dentist will put a temporary crown on the tooth. The temporary crown protects the tooth until the final crown is ready. Don't worry if it doesn't look completely natural; the temporary crown might have a slightly different color and shape than the final crown.
The dentist will then pull out the temporary crown and securely place the final crown on your next dental appointment. He or she will thoroughly check to ensure that the height comes with the right bite, color, shape, and fit. If it perfectly fits you, he or she will cement the crown into place.
Remember to keep your new crown clean, just like your natural teeth. While the cap itself won't decay, the decay can still emerge where the crown's edge links to the tooth. Brush at least twice a day using fluoride-based toothpaste, floss regularly, and rinse with a fluoride-containing mouthwash. These habits will help avert periodontal problems and tooth decay. Maintaining a well-balanced diet with restrictions to hard foods is also recommended.
Mannerisms such as finger-biting and teeth-grinding should also be avoided as these considerably accelerate crown wear-and-tear. If teeth-grinding or clenching is an unpreventable habit, the dentist may recommend using a mouth guard during night time.
How Long do Crowns Last?
Dental crowns are durable and usually last for approximately ten years or more if you know how to properly look after them. It is a must to brush them carefully and floss on a daily basis just like when taking care of your natural teeth. It is advised to avoid using your teeth to cut or open things or bite down on hard foods or objects. Your dentist can tell you how long your cap may be expected to last.