What is a Dental Crown?
In simple terms, a dental crown is a cap placed on top of a tooth to help restore strength, size, and shape. When put into place, the crown should fully cover the whole visible tooth portion that is at or above the gum line. There are several different reasons for which you might need a crown:
- Holding a dental bridge together
- Covering and supporting a tooth with a big filling when the tooth is largely gone
- Protecting a weak tooth
- Restoring a broken tooth that has already worn down
- Covering a dental implant
- Covering discolored or misshaped teeth
If you believe that you might need a crown put on one or more of your teeth, this is a great conversation to have with your dentist. Having a crown put on is a dental procedure, but it’s not one you should be scared of. Your dentist can walk you through the process of what it requires and how it works with your dental insurance.
Do not hesitate to set up an appointment to have the crown put on, because it’s better to address these issues sooner rather than later. Letting an existing problem get worse can only serve to make your life more difficult. If your dentist has already flagged an issue with your teeth requiring a crown, set up the appointment to have it put on as soon as possible. It can make chewing easier and it can also strengthen teeth that are causing you problems or pain.
Types of Crowns:
If a tooth gets injured or damaged, but remains in position and is not lost, then it can be repaired by using a crown. The crown, or also known as a dental crown, helps in restoring the shape, appearance and function of any damaged tooth. A dental crown is also placed over a root canal treated tooth, a large filling in a tooth or a severely decayed or broken tooth. A dental crown, also called a cap, is a hollow, artificial tooth used to cover a damaged or decayed tooth. The crown not only restores the tooth but also protects it from any further damage. Crowns can also be used to cover up a discolored or malformed tooth. A tooth, which is fixed with a crown looks and works similar to a natural tooth. What are the different types of materials used for making crowns?
Dental crowns can be made from various types of materials depending on the tooth which needs a crown. Your dentist will recommend a material, or a combination of materials, that is suitable for your tooth.
1. Metal crowns
These crowns are made up of gold. They usually last for a long time and won’t chip or break. Metal crowns do not wear down your opposing natural teeth. The main problem with these crowns is the gold color which does not look natural, particularly on the anterior (front) teeth.
2. Composite crowns
The composite crown looks like a natural tooth. Unlike porcelain crowns, they won’t chip off easily, but they tend to wear more rapidly from chewing. A major disadvantage of composite crowns is that their highly polished surface gets removed because of tooth brushing and hence results in the staining of these crowns more easily.
3. Porcelain crowns
The porcelain crowns provide the most natural look. They are more brittle when compared with the metal and composite crowns and therefore get chipped off more easily. Because of this reason, these crowns are not usually placed on the posterior (back) teeth.
4. Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns
PFM crowns look natural and are stronger than porcelain or composite crowns. They will not break off as easily as porcelain or ceramic crowns. Depending on the design of PFM crowns, the metal may become visible if the gums are thin or shrink.
What is the procedure for getting a crown?
Installation of a dental crown is generally a two visit procedure. At the first appointment, initially an examination of the tooth is done by the dentist to make sure that it can support a dental crown. After that, the tooth is reduced or filed in order to prepare it for the placement of the crown. On the other hand, if the tooth is severely damaged or broken, then it may first need a filling so that it can become large enough to receive the cap or crown.
After the tooth is reduced or filled to the appropriate shape, the dentist will take an impression of the tooth, as well as of the teeth surrounding it, and will send the impression to a dental lab, so that the permanent crown can be prepared accordingly. By the end of the first visit, there will be a temporary crown on the reduced or filled tooth that will protect it till the placement of the final or permanent crown.
At the second appointment, you will get the permanent crown for your tooth. At this visit, the temporary crown is removed, after which the new crown will be placed onto the tooth with a unique adhesive.
It is always necessary to have a crown on the damaged or injured tooth because failing to do so can also break your tooth to a level where it cannot be restored and sometimes you have to lose your tooth as it might need an extraction then.
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