The Ultimate Guide to Dental Crowns
Even those who are the most diligent with their oral hygiene often experience challenges like tooth decay or damage over time. If you have issues with your teeth that cause them to lose shape such as injury or deterioration, one of the common ways that such issues are addressed is through the use of dental crowns. A crown is cemented over the tooth and helps to restore the specific size, shape, and strength of the tooth. Read on to learn more about the reasons for getting dental crowns, the different types of crowns available, and what to expect in terms of crown application and aftercare.
Reasons for Getting Dental Crowns
There are a number of different reasons why you might need dental crowns. If you’ve recently received a large filling and there is little actual tooth remaining, then a dental crown will help protect the remaining tooth and provide a natural tooth shape. Crowns are also used to cover misshapen or severely stained or discolored teeth, as well as to protect teeth that have recently undergone root canals. Crowns are also used to protect weak or decaying teeth, hold bridges in place, and cover dental implants.
Types of Dental Crowns
When it comes to crowns, there are several different types as well as a variety of materials that are used, so it’s important to have a thorough conversation with your dentist when discussing the application process to ensure you know exactly what type of crown you’re getting. The most common crown types include:
- Traditional dental crowns which are used to cover your entire tooth and can last between 5 to 15 years depending on oral hygiene care and the quality of the crown.
- Onlays and ¾ crowns which provide less coverage than traditional crowns and might be a better option if there is still a firm tooth structure in place.
Materials used in crowns are widely varied and dependent on the specific reason for crown usage, potential allergies, and dentist preference.
- Resin is a commonly used material for dental crowns and is characterized as one of the more inexpensive crown materials. One of the drawbacks with resin however is that it is likely to wear down or break at a more rapid rate than some of the other options for crown materials.
- Different metals such as gold, nickel, and chromium can also be used in dental crowns, and the benefit of metal crowns is that they last an extremely long time and are unlikely to break or wear down. Because of the bright metallic cover, many prefer to have metal crowns on their back molars where they are less visible.
- Crowns that incorporate porcelain fused to metal are also relatively common given that they include the durability and strength of metal crowns but can also be matched to the color of the adjacent teeth through the use of porcelain. Drawbacks to this type of crown include the chance that some of the porcelain might eventually deteriorate and show the darker metal underneath, as well as the chance of porcelain cracking or chipping.
- Full porcelain or full ceramiccrowns are great materials to use if one of your major concerns is exact color matching or if you’re allergic to some of the commonly used metals like gold or nickel. These types of crowns are a good choice for front teeth, however, it’s important to remember they aren’t as durable as other types of crowns, and they can also promote increased wear on the teeth that are opposite them in the mouth.
- Pressed ceramic crownsare more durable and long-lasting than all-porcelain crowns, but they do incorporate porcelain caps to promote color matching. With pressed ceramic, there is a hard inner core making the crown harder and less prone to breakage.
Getting Your Dental Crown
If you’ve spoken with your dentist and decided the best route forward for your dental health is to get a crown, there will likely be a two-visit process involved. At your first visit, the dentist will prepare the tooth that is going to receive the crown. This involves taking a number of x-rays as well as potential root canal treatments if there are any issues with the tooth such as decay, problems with the tooth pulp, or risk of infection. Following this, the tooth that is having the crown put on it will be filed down to an amount that is dependent on the type of crown that’s being applied.
If there is damage to the tooth, a filler material will be used to compensate for the missing structure, and the crown will then be placed on top of that appropriately shaped tooth.
After the tooth has been properly shaped, an impression of the tooth receiving the crown is made with paste along with impressions of the adjacent teeth to ensure the bite won’t be impacted by the crown. The impressions are sent to a lab that uses them to cast the crowns, and while your dentist waits to receive the final permanent crowns, they will equip you with some temporary crowns for the interim period.
During your second visit, your temporary crowns are replaced by the permanent ones that were created in the lab. Depending on the specific case, local anesthesia might be used to numb the tooth receiving the crown as its being cemented. Following the permanent affixing of the crown to the teeth, your dentist will leave you with some aftercare instructions, and it’s important to follow them closely and make sure you’re staying on top of your oral hygiene to ensure your crown lasts as long as possible.
Keep an Eye Out for Red Flags
While crowns are designed for durability and longevity, there is always the chance that issues might develop with your dental crowns. If you see signs of any of the following, it’s important to check in with your dentist right away as the longer issues go on the higher the chance that they will turn into serious problems.
- A Crown is Chipped: Materials such as porcelain are more likely to chip when it comes to crowns, however, luckily smaller chips often don’t require the whole crown to be removed in order to be repaired. If the chip is on the larger side, however, it might be impacting the overall effectiveness of the crown, and you should contact your dentist right away to have it checked.
- Irritation or Sensitivity: After you receive your new crown, there might be some sensitivity specifically to heat and cold. If after a few days you continue to experience irritation or sensitivity, particularly when you are chewing or biting down, then this might be a sign that the crown has been placed too high on your tooth. It’s important if you continue to experience irritation or sensitivity to contact your dentist right away.
- A Crown is Loose: If your crown feels loose, it likely means the cement used to affix the crown to your tooth has become eroded for some reason. This is a serious issue because debris and bacteria can get trapped in between the crown and the tooth, so if this is the case for you it’s crucial to get it looked at right away.
- Crown comes off: If your crown comes off then it’s important to contact your dentist immediately to schedule a new crown to be cemented on as soon as possible. Because your tooth has been filed down and might have decay underneath, your dentist will need to provide you with specific instructions for how to take care of your tooth until you can have the crown replaced.
Taking Care of Your Dental Crown
The average dental crown lasts between 5 to 15 years, and you can certainly reach the higher end of this timeframe if you’re being diligent about your oral hygiene and following good habits. This includes regular at-home and professional cleaning and care, avoiding things like chewing ice and biting your fingernails, and doing your best to minimize bad habits such as clenching or grinding teeth. Make sure you’re paying special attention to brushing and flossing around the area that the crown connects with your tooth and do your best to avoid biting hard things using your crowned teeth.
Speak To Us & Learn More About Dental Crowns
One of the best ways you can ensure you’re taking proper care of your teeth is through regular check-ups with a knowledgeable and experienced dentist. At Englewood Dentistry, our expert and professional staff can provide exceptional dental health services to you and your family members. Whether you’re looking for a regular check-up, fillings, crowns, or cosmetic dentistry services, give us a call today and let us provide you with expert dentistry services!