Have you considered a crown but haven’t decided if it’s right for you?
We can explain your treatment options and find the best solution for your smile.
Also known as “caps,” dental crowns are fixed prosthetic devices that aid in preserving the functionality (size, shape, alignment, and strength) or improving the appearance of a tooth, particularly the clinical crown.
The tooth’s anatomical structure is divided into two basic portions; namely, the crown and the root.
The gums and bone cover the root. The clinical crown, on the other hand, is that the visible portion of the teeth below or above the gum line.
Once cemented into place, the cap will fully enclose the clinical crown’s outer surface, assuming the function of any natural tooth.
Reasons for Crown Placement
Dentists may recommend a crown in response to various dental needs. A few of these reasons include the following:
- 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 no enough tooth left
Types of Crowns — There are three predominant types of crowns based on the material used:
- Metal alloy: This type of crown is fabricated with an all-metal material. Gold, chromium, nickel, and palladium are an example. While metal crowns are guaranteed to be the most durable and long-lasting compared to the other two types, its metallic hue is its main disadvantage. Metal alloy crowns are ideal for posterior molars.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal: A hybrid of metal alloy and dental ceramic; its main advantage is its tooth-like coloration. Despite the fact that it provides good strength, the porcelain structure has a tendency to cause significant wear on its opposing teeth or separate from its metal-based foundation. Another drawback for this kind of crown is the emergence of an unsightly “dark line.” This usually happens 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 strong than the other kinds.
The Clinical Process of Dental Crown Placement
Prior to the fabrication of the crown, the dentist reduces the size of the tooth or teeth in order for the cap to fit over it. Afterwards, a molded dental impression will be made, and a temporary crown will be fitted while the permanent crown is put together in a dental laboratory.
Upon completion and on the next visit, the final crown will be cemented onto the tooth or teeth. Overtime, crown production has evolved from manual to mechanical with the aid of computer-aided design (CAD) technology.
The assembly system is done by a computer-guided milling device that instantly produces the crown based on a 3-D image of the teeth. If this technology is readily available in the dental clinic, placement of a temporary cap will be unnecessary, and final restoration can be done all on the first visit.
Aftercare and Good Recovery Practices
In order to prolong the benefits of the crown, the dentist will generally advise the patient to observe good oral hygiene regimens that include proper and regular brushing and flossing. These habits will help avert periodontal problems and tooth decay. Maintaining a well-balanced diet with restriction 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 the usage of a mouth guard during night time.
As a rule of thumb, improvement in the structural aesthetics of the teeth should not be limited to crown prosthetics alone if there are other options that could aid in achieving the same end benefit. Chipping off a significant portion of the patient’s existing teeth can be a bit aggressive. Dental bonding, teeth whitening, or porcelain veneers are more conservative alternatives, and it’s best to mull-over these options first.
The best solution is to consult one of Hawaii Family Dental’s Dentists in order to be properly guided and assessed. Our dentist will thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of each available alternative, make physical examinations of the teeth, and suggest the best dental procedure based on the complexity of the teeth’s restoration needs.