Crowns or ‘caps’ as they are often called are used to restore the shape, appearance and functionality of damaged teeth. You may also need a crown if you have done a root canal treatment, a filling or have a broken tooth. It is an artificial tooth that is used to cover a damaged or decayed tooth such that it is protected from further damage and restores the functionality of the tooth. It can also be used to cover a misshapen or discoloured tooth.
Ideal Candidate for Dental Crown
You may be an ideal candidate for using dental crown in case of the following conditions
- To restore an already broken or cracked tooth from further damage
- To protect and restore a weak tooth that may break down
- To support and cover a teeth with filling
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- Covering a dental implant
- To cover discoloured teeth or teeth that are not in shape
- For a cosmetic modification
Types of Crowns
Dental crowns can be made of different materials. Depending on the tooth location that needs a crown, your dentist may suggest a material or a combination that suits your needs. They may be made of metals, stainless steel, porcelain fused to metals, all ceramic or all resin.
Metal crowns: These are usually made of gold or other alloys. They are highly durable and can withstand biting and chewing forces well. Minimal tooth wear to opposite teeth resulting from chewing and rarely chip or break. Due to their metallic colour they are not the best choice for teeth that are visible but are an ideal choice for out-of-sight molars.
Stainless Steel: These are prefabricated crowns that are used temporarily until a permanent crown of different material is made to protect the tooth or filling. It is commonly used in children to protect the primary teeth.
Porcelain fused to metal: They are strong, durable and can be matched to the tooth colour providing a more aesthetic option. But wearing to opposite teeth is more compared to resin or metal crown and the porcelain portion may chip or break. But in some case if your gums recede or are thin then the metal underlying the porcelain may show off. It is an ideal option for front or back teeth.
All ceramic or all porcelain: A good choice for front teeth, they look like natural teeth and are more suitable for people with metal allergies. However they are not as strong as porcelain fused to metal crowns and may wear away.
All resin: Though they are less expensive when compared to other crown types they are more prone to fracture and may wear away with time.
Your dentist may refer you to a prosthodontist or he/she may fit a crown on your tooth. Prosthodontics is a sub specialty of dentistry that deals with restoring and replacing natural teeth with artificial substances.
Placing a crown usually involves two visits to the dentist- the first to examine and prepare the tooth for the crown and the second for placing the crown.
The doctor first gives a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and the gum tissue surrounding it. Next, the tooth that receives the crown is filed down to accommodate the crown. To create an impression, your dentist would apply a paste or putty on the reshaped tooth. Impressions are also taken of the tooth below and above to make sure they are not affected while biting. These impressions are sent to a dental lab for manufacturing. Depending on the choice of material used, the crown may take two to three weeks for manufacturing. Your dentist would place a temporary crown (usually made of acrylic) over the reshaped tooth to protect it until the original crown is ready.
In the second visit, the temporary crown is removed and permanent crown is cemented in place under the influence of anesthesia.
After placement of crowns your dentist might give you a few tips and information on taking caring of your crown. The most important thing is to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing or using interdental cleaners atleast once a day. This helps remove plaque and food materials that may cause decay at the area where the crown meets the gums. It is better to avoid hard food items that may damage the crown. Also if you are in the habit of grinding your teeth, your dentist might suggest a night guard to protect your teeth.
With proper care, crowns may last anywhere between five to fifteen years. The cost associated with crown varies depending on the material used for the crown. To know more about dental crowns and the ones suitable for you fix an appointment with our specialists today.