A crown is a dental restoration that fits over a tooth. Crowns strengthen and cover damaged teeth, restoring them to their original shape and function. When you have tooth decay (also known as cavities), a chipped, broken, or cracked tooth, crowns are frequently recommended.
A massive filling, decay, or a damaged tooth can all weaken a tooth, and crowns are a great way to repair these issues. One may employ a cap for any number of purposes, including:
- It may aid in holding a denture or bridge firmly in place.
- Due to a rotten filling, the patient needs a crown to protect the tooth's remaining structure..
- 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 can match another tooth's natural color. Other materials used include gold and acrylic. The metal alloys are more durable than porcelain, making them excellent back teeth options. However, if you prefer durable and attractive crowns, consider porcelain bonded to a metal shell.
Types Of Crowns
Based on the material, there are three main types of crowns:
Metal alloy: As the name suggests, this type contains an all-metal material. Some examples include gold, chromium, nickel, and palladium. Metal is the most durable and long-lasting of the three types (see below), but their metallic appearance is their primary disadvantage. For posterior molars, metal alloy is ideal.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal: It is a metal alloy and dental ceramic hybrid. The main benefit of this type is its tooth-like appearance. However, although strong and durable, porcelain can cause significant wear on the teeth opposite them. Similarly, it is known to separate from its metal-based foundation over time. Another disadvantage of this type of crown is an unsightly "dark line," which usually occurs with the appearance of the metal edge 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.
What Materials are Used to Make Crowns?
Dental crowns use a broad range of materials, including:
All-ceramic: A metal-free option. It has the strength of a bonded crown but the appearance of porcelain. As a result, it is suitable for use in various areas of the mouth.
Porcelain bonded to precious metal: A typical dental crown with a metal base and porcelain applied in layers above.
Porcelain: These are entirely made of porcelain. However, porcelain is not as durable as bonded crowns. They have the advantage of looking like natural teeth and are commonly used for front teeth.
Gold-alloy: Gold is one of the oldest filling materials. It is now combined with other metal alloys to increase its strength, making it quite serviceable. They are typically silver or gold in color.
Glass: Used in all mouth areas, 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.
There should be at least two dental appointments. The dentist must prepare the tooth, take impressions, note the information and shade of the patient's teeth, and then fit the temporary crown at the initial appointment. The dentist will check the permanent crown during the subsequent appointment. Please be advised that appointments are usually spaced one to two weeks apart.
What To Expect At Your First Appointment
The dentist will first prepare the tooth to the proper shape for the crown, which involves removing a layer of the outer surface while simultaneously leaving a solid inner core. Take note that the amount of tooth extracted will be the same as the crown's thickness.
The dentist will take a mold or impression of the prepared tooth once the tooth has been formed. To illustrate how you bite together, this is done on one opposing jaw, possibly the other.
After that, a dental technician will receive the mold or impression, the required documentation, and more details about the best shade.
Next, the dentist will put a temporary crown on the tooth. The temporary protects the tooth until the final one is ready. The temporary could be slightly different in color and shape from the permanent crown, so don't worry if it doesn't look completely natural.
The dentist will then pull out the temporary and securely place the final crown on your next dental appointment. They will thoroughly check to ensure that the height comes with the proper bite, color, shape, and fit. If it perfectly fits you, they 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 connects to the tooth. Brush at least twice daily 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 on hard foods is also recommended.
Avoiding mannerisms such as finger-biting and teeth-grinding would be best 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 at night.
How Long Do Crowns Last?
Dental crowns are durable and frequently last for ten years or more when appropriately maintained. Brushing them carefully and flossing daily, just as you would with your natural teeth, is crucial. In addition, you should avoid cutting, opening, or biting into hard food or items with your teeth. Your dentist can determine the projected lifespan of your cap.