Your teeth might get damaged over time. This can occur due to various reasons, including tooth injury, decay, or even overuse. The tooth's shape and size can also deteriorate with time. A dental crown is thus tooth-shaped “caps” designed to fit over your natural tooth, hence correcting the problem.
The dental crown is a cap that covers the visible section of the tooth and is typically cemented into place. These crowns help improves the size, shape, strength, and look of the tooth.
Advantages of Dental Crown
Dental crowns are a good solution for a variety of dental issues. Generally, they have the ability to:
- Give support to the tooth that is significantly decayed.
- Protect a worn-down tooth from further damage.
- Shield the tooth following a root canal treatment.
- Keep a severely cracked or shattered tooth together.
- Cover the dental implant.
- Change the form or color of a tooth to improve its look.
Dental crowns are an excellent long-term choice since they are sturdy and typically last for about 5 to 15 years. As a result, it increases the satisfaction of the patient with the procedure. Compared to other alternative dental restoration procedures or lack of treatment, dental crowns have a higher success rate.
Types of Dental Crown
The main types of dental crown include;
- Porcelain fused to metal crowns
These are the most prevalent restorative material for dental crowns as well as bridges. If the metal and porcelain are both heated, the porcelain will chemically bond to the metal's oxides, resulting in a long-lasting bond.
Since the metal structure supports them, porcelain fused to metal crowns is more durable compared to regular porcelain crowns. They also match the shape, appearance, and function of your original teeth.
- Crowns made of metal and gold alloys
Metal crowns are available in various shapes and colors. They give a robust bond, aside from being resistant to fractures, and don’t wear away teeth. Copper, gold, and other metals are commonly used in these crowns. Non-noble metals, which are exceptionally strong and corrosion-resistant, are used in other metal crowns.
These crowns necessitate tooth structure removal before placement. Crowns made of metal need the least amount of tooth removal. This makes them a better conservative alternative.
- Stainless steel crowns
With stainless steel crown, only the primary or baby teeth are restored. They are used after pulpotomy or if traditional cavity fillings, including dental amalgam fillings, are at risk of failing.
- Cosmetic crowns
Porcelain is used to make ceramic dental crowns. Generally, porcelain is used in dentistry to make tooth-colored dental materials, including aesthetic crowns that look, feel, and function like natural teeth.
Cosmetic crowns are used to restore the front teeth and mix in with the rest of the natural color of the teeth. They're usually tough, long-lasting, and don't break or chip easily.
- All-resin crowns
Basically, all-resin restorations are less costly compared to dental crown gold, metal, ceramic, and porcelain dental crowns. On the other hand, resin crowns are rarely recommended by dentists since they are more prone to wear and tear, fractures, and don’t last long.
The resin material is thin and much delicate compared to metal or porcelain for dental restorations. Resin fillings are exclusively reserved for decaying baby teeth but not permanent teeth.
In general, crowns can be made of a variety of materials, including porcelain, zirconia, ceramic, resin composite, metal, or a mixture of materials. The dentist can consider the following factors when deciding on the material to use for your crown;
- The location of your tooth
- How much of your tooth will be visible if you smile
- Your gum tissue's position
- The function of the teeth that requires the dental crown
- How much natural tooth you have left
- The color of the teeth nearby
Dental Crown Procedure
There are several dental crown procedure options in dentistry, including;
- Temporary dental crown
A temporary crown is a type of dental crown that only remains in the mouth for a few days or weeks. The dentist usually inserts the crown over the tooth using a removable adhesive. Hence, it will not be as robust as the permanent crown.
Dentists often recommend a temporary dental crown before the permanent crown is ready. A second visit will, therefore, be scheduled to install the permanent crown on the tooth.
- One day crown
You can have a dental crown in just one visit. Other dental facilities provide same-day crown placement through a variety of CAD/CAM techniques. The new crown is usually designed and ground in the dentist’s office with a block of ceramic.
- 3/4 crown or onlay
This type of dental crown usually covers a section of the tooth. If a full crown is not necessary, your dentist may instead recommend an onlay or a 3/4 crown.
The Steps of Getting a Dental Crown
To get a dental crown, you will need two appointments with the dentist. You may be able to get a dental crown created at the dentist's office in some cases.
The initial visit:
The tooth that will get the crown will be evaluated and prepped on the initial visit. Also, x-rays of the tooth and its surrounding bone are taken. The dentist may need to perform a root canal treatment before placing your dental crown if you have conditions such as;
- Tooth decaying
- Infection risk
- Damage or injury of the pulp of the tooth
The pulp refers to the soft tissue containing nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue in the teeth.
The top and sides of the tooth that will receive the dental crown are filed down. This will free up some space for the crown. The crown type determines the quantity of tooth that is filed away.
All-metal dental crowns are usually thinner than all-porcelain or porcelain fused to metal crowns and require less tooth removal. A filling substance can be utilized to accumulate sufficient tooth structure for the crown to cover. This is especially if a lot of the tooth is missing as a result of damage, injury, or decay.
Once the tooth has been reshaped, the dentist can use a paste or putty to create a copy (an impression) of the tooth that will get the crown. There will also be impressions taken from the teeth above and below the tooth that will get the dental crown. This is made to ensure that the crown does not interfere with your bite.
After that, the impressions are taken to the dental lab. The crowns are made in a laboratory and delivered to the dentist's office after about two or three weeks. The dentist will build a temporary crown, covering and preserving the prepped tooth as you wait for the permanent crown during the initial visit.
The second visit:
The permanent crown is put on the tooth during the second visit. The temporary crown is first taken out, and the permanent crown's fit and color are assessed. If all goes well, the tooth is numbed using a local anesthetic or a numbing agent. After that, the new dental crown is permanently bonded in place.
Same-day dental crowns:
If the dentist has the necessary equipment, he or she can make the dental crown in the office. The procedure begins similarly to how a typical crown is created, with the removal of decay and shaping of the tooth to ensure a precise fit in the crown. Following these steps, the crown is made in a new way.
Scanning equipment (a wand) is used to capture digital photographs of the tooth within the mouth during the same-day operation. From these images, the computer software generates a 3-dimensional tooth model. The new digital design is then brought to another machine in the office, which carves the crown shape out of a ceramic block.
Computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) is the process of creating a dental crown. The crown will be ready to fix in place in not more than 15 minutes.
Potential Complications of Dental Crown
A crown might be a great way to fix a serious problem in one of the teeth. However, there are several risks and side effects that you may encounter after receiving a dental crown. The possible dental crown problems can include;
- Teeth sensitivity: The crowned tooth may sometimes be sensitive to either heat or cold. On the other hand, the fit may get off if the tooth is extremely sensitive to pressure whenever you bite down.
- Chipped crown: Chipping is more common in forms of crowns, particularly all-porcelain crowns. However, the dentist can help repair the small chips. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns' porcelain might break, showing the metal structure beneath.
- Loose or knocked out of the crown: If there is insufficient cement to hold the crown in place, it may become loose or fall off in certain cases.
- Gum disease: You may have gingivitis or gum disease if the gums surrounding the crown become irritated or sore or the area begins to bleed.
When it comes to dental crowns, there are a lot of options. Generally, there is nothing like a one-size-fits-all crown, although certain forms may be more appealing to you compared to others. In the end, it will most likely come down to your requirements.
Discuss your suitable type of dental crown, including your dental needs, with your dentist.