A crown is a fake tooth that caps one of your natural teeth or a screw for an implants. They are typically made from either ceramic, porcelain, stainless steel, or an alloy (including gold). Naturally colored materials are much more discreet for those who prefer that option. Crowns are made in a dental lab, based on a mold that the dentist will take after prepping the area. While it’s being made, you will get a temporary crown.
Why do I need it?
There are several different problems that a crown can correct. Some of the most common reasons are:
- Strengthen a weak or fractured tooth
- Replace a tooth after a root canal
- Attaching an implant
- Cosmetic purposes
- Replace a filling that is too large for the remaining tooth
Some of these problems need immediate dental work, but others use a crown as a prevention of further problems down the road. dentists never advise getting a crown unless they feel like it is absolutely necessary.
What Is The Dental Crown Made Up Of?
Dental crowns are made up of three different materials
- All ceramic metal-free crowns
- Ceramic on metal crowns
- All Metal crowns
The choice of the type of material depends on the purpose you want to achieve with the crown. For example, front teeth need to have an all-ceramic crown, if possible, since it looks the most natural. Whereas if it is the very back tooth in the mouth, you need more strength and durability thus, you may choose an all-metal or ceramic on metal crowns.
What Happens During The Dental Crown Procedure?
The dental crowns procedure takes a single appointment if dentist is using the all-ceramic material (CEREC single visit crowns) or two visits if a lab is involved in the process. A lab may be involved if dentist is restoring a very discoloured front tooth with an all-ceramic crown as shade matching can be challenging or if he is restoring a badly damaged back tooth as all-metal crowns can be designed at the lab only.
Firstly, dentist will prepare the tooth to accommodate the crown. Then, he will take a digital scan of your teeth and make a record of their colour to ensure your new crown is a perfect match.
If dentist is doing a CEREC or single appointment crown, then he will see you back for a second 30-minute appointment after an hour. dentist takes this time to design and fabricate your crown with computer-aided milling machine.
However, if a laboratory is involved, dentist will place a temporary restoration on your tooth. The digital scan is then transferred to the dental laboratory. It usually takes the dental laboratory about 2 weeks to design your new crown. Once your crown is back, dentist will invite you for a 30-minute appointment to have the crown fitted, it’s as easy as that!
How To Care For Your Dental Crowns?
As in the case of any dental restoration, the lifespan of that crown depends on a lot of different factors, including what you do. What do you need to do to care for your crowns?
Maintain good oral hygiene habits
Just how long your dental crowns will last depends on a huge number of factors. One of the most significant factors in just how long your crown will last is how well you care for your teeth and mouth. If you neglect your daily hygiene habits, the tooth capped by your crown and the gums around it can become infected by tooth decay and periodontal disease. To preserve the health of the underlying tooth and gums, brush your teeth at least twice daily, floss daily, and use mouthwash regularly.
Wear a night guard
While your dental crowns are designed and built to withstand the pressures of eating and chewing, they are vulnerable to the much higher sustained pressures exerted on your teeth when you grind your teeth at night. Grinding your teeth at night is a condition called sleep bruxism. Sleep bruxism can break dental crowns and damage other dental work. If you have the unhealthy and harmful habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw as you sleep, speak to a dentist about fitting you with a mouthguard to protect the biting surfaces of your teeth and your crowns.
Avoid some harmful habits
Dental restorations such as crowns are designed for particular purposes. Tools, scissors, and things like that are designed for particular purposes. Those purposes are not the same! Mixing up those purposes can expose dental restorations — including dental crowns— to damage. Don’t use your teeth to hold hard objects. Don’t use your teeth to open bottles or packages. Don’t use your teeth to tear items. Don’t bite on pencils or ice. All of those harmful habits can cause damage to your dental crowns.
Don’t ignore a damaged crown
Older and/or lower quality crowns can be damaged. One common form of damage is chips coming off a porcelain crown. If your crown has sustained chips, make an appointment with a dental clinic as soon as possible. In some cases, the dentist may be able to repair the crown using bonding resins. If the crown cannot be repaired, a dentist may recommend that it be replaced.
Ignoring a damaged crown will expose the underlying tooth to bacteria and food debris. Because the underlying tooth was altered to receive that crown by the removal of enamel, it is particularly vulnerable to tooth decay. Additionally, even minor damage to a crown can spread to the point that it will be structurally unstable and fail completely.
Keep up with your dental appointments
When we mentioned the importance of keeping up good oral hygiene habits earlier, we didn’t mention regular dental checkups. But you probably this was going to come up, right? Your dentist will carefully inspect all crowns and dental work for any signs of damage requiring attention. Beyond attending regular dental checkups, you should urgently contact a dentist if you experience any pain when you chew or bite. That may be the result of infection or decay affecting the underlying tooth, or changes in the height of your crown due to failed bonding of that crown to your tooth. Your dentist and their staff will take all the steps necessary to restore your crown and to protect your underlying tooth.
dentist can explain the potential value of crowns to your personal situation. They’ll walk you through all the steps to obtaining crowns and ensuring they have a long lifespan, including by following these suggestions.
Are dental crowns permanent?
Dental crowns are generally expected to last 5 to 15 years, and often, if they are well cared for, can last much longer. Factors that Determine Dental Crown Longevity
- Location of the tooth (rear, front)
- Condition of the original tooth under the crown
- Grinding or clenching
- Oral hygiene and care of the crowned tooth
- Harmful habits (chewing ice, fingernails, removing bottle caps)
- Materials used (gold, zirconia, porcelain fused to metal, etc.)
- Proper manufacture of the crown
- Full or partial crown
- Periodontal health (gum disease)
- External trauma (accidents)
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider.
This leads many dentists to say that a crown should last from 5 to 15 years, so as to not mislead patients into thinking that their crowns are indestructible or eternal.
However, studies show that Dental crowns can last for decades or indefinitely
- When dental crowns are the optimum solution for the dental problem,
- When crowns are manufactured well, using the appropriate materials,
- When installed properly by a dedicated, expert professional, and
- When diligent patient home care is consistently practised
Does it hurt?
For the crown to be placed over your existing tooth or dental implant, the dentist will need to do some modifications. For this part of the process you will be numb, so the worst of it will be the achiness you might feel after the feeling comes back.
The placement of a crown does not usually hurt. Most people complain when a temporary crown is removed and the permanent one is placed, when air hits the exposed nerves. This lasts for maybe a minute and doesn’t even require numbing. If you have a root canal, this isn’t even a concern since you don’t have feeling in those nerves anymore. For implants, the pain and swelling is managed with over-the-counter medicines.
The cost of a dental crown varies depending on which tooth requires the crown and whether the crown is ceramic, porcelain, or metallic.
Can dental crowns be repaired?
It may be possible to repair a damaged dental crown, depending on how much of it is damaged and how severe the damage is. Generally it is better to replace the crown so the integrity of the crown is not compromised. However, if the chip isn’t large, your dentist may repair it with a composite filling material to match the crown. In the case of a small chip or rough area, sometimes all that is needed is a little reshaping and smoothing of the surface of the crown.
Are dental crowns safe?
Yes, dental crowns are generally very safe. The only real problem that may be an issue is an allergy to the material used, typically a metal allergy. If you have a known sensitivity or allergy to any metal, inform the dentist of this and together you can decide what will be best for you.
Can dental crowns be whitened?
Unfortunately whitening treatments do not affect the color of a crown. They will remain the color that they were when the dentist placed them. If over time your natural teeth begin to yellow or stain, your crown could begin to look whiter than your natural teeth. The good news is that your crown material will stay the same color and not yellow or stain like natural enamel can.
If you want to whiten your teeth and have one or more crowns, you need to do so under the direction of your dentist. Whitening agents can damage the surface of the crown material.
Are dental crowns and caps the same thing?
Yes, a dental crown and a dental cap are referring to the same thing. Dental crown is a more technical term and a cap is more of an informal way to refer to it. But, they are just two different words referring to the same procedure.
Can dental crowns decay?
The dental crown itself will not decay, however the tooth under it can. A tooth is protected from decay by the crown covering it, except along the gum line. This is where the natural tooth is still exposed to cavity causing foods and bacteria. Plaque usually accumulates around the base of our teeth and this is the vulnerable area of a tooth with a crown. Brushing and flossing around a crown is very important to prevent decay from forming along the gum line and moving up into the tooth covered by the crown. Regular dental check ups are also important in the early detection of decay. Decay under a crown is one of the main reasons a dental crown will fail and need to be replaced. If you get decay under a crown, the crown must be taken off of the tooth, the decay will then be removed and replaced with a filling. Then a new crown with need to be made and placed because it is impossible to get the newly filled tooth to fit exactly under the old crown.
Are there alternatives to dental crowns?
There are alternatives to dental crowns. If you want to improve discolouration, then veneers — which are thin layers fixed onto the front surface of a tooth — might be an option. If your tooth is chipped, your dentist may also try to rebuild your tooth structure using filling material.