Dental crowns are the ideal way to restore your smile! Missing or damaged teeth can create problems in biting and chewing food. Having the problematic tooth or teeth replaced by a crown gives you the liberty to bite and chew on foods easily, thus having a positive impact on the other systems in your body like your digestive system. A dental crown is a fixed prosthetic device that is placed over a damaged or missing tooth. The purpose of this tooth-shaped cap is to cover the damaged tooth and restore its look, shape, size, and strength.
When would a dental crown be needed?
There are various situations in which you may require dental crowns. Here are some of them:
If you have managed to break your teeth either partially or completely due to an accidental fall, you can count on a dental crown. Your dentist will suggest that you replace your broken or missing teeth with a dental crown to fill in space or make your smile perfect again.
If your tooth has a cavity that is half its width, you know it is time to consult your dentist. There are high chances your dentist will recommend you get a dental crown in this situation as filling a large portion of your tooth is difficult. Even if your dentist manages to implant a large filling, there are high chances of your tooth showing signs of stress and cracks. The dentist will eventually suggest you have a dental crown placed on your damaged tooth.
If you have undergone a root canal treatment, you will require a dental crown. After a root canal treatment, your tooth may hollow out and predispose the remaining tooth to cracking. To avoid this, you will have to get a dental crown for the operated tooth.
Excessive wear of teeth
If you have the habit of grinding your teeth, you will require a dental crown soon. Grinding your teeth can cause it to shorten over time. Also, there are chances of your teeth wearing out due to acid erosion that may occur due to an acidic diet or bulimia. A worn-out tooth can collapse due to biting; hence it is important to restore the tooth to its original size. To regain its normal size and shape, a dental crown is required.
Unacceptable appearance of teeth
Your tooth may lose its colour or shape due to various reasons. Unacceptable appearance of a tooth , especially in the front can take away your confidence to smile. In such a case, a dental crown can come to your rescue. You can replace your ‘not so good-looking tooth’ with a dental crown that will offer it a natural look and give you a perfect smile.
What types of dental crown materials are available?
Crowns can be made of different dental crown materials like:
Stainless steel crowns are used as a temporary measure on permanent teeth. They are usually used to protect the tooth or filling till the time a permanent crown of another material is ready.
Crowns can be made of different types of metals like gold, alloy, and platinum. As metals are known to be sturdy and durable, a crown made of any metal can withstand a lot of pressure. The only drawback of a metal crown is its metallic, unnatural colour.
Many a times crowns are made using a mix of porcelain and metal. Porcelain helps to create a crown that matches the colour of your adjacent teeth, whereas, metal makes it slightly durable. However, a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown can still wear down easily.
Crowns made of resin have the lowest dental crown cost. However, they wear down easily and you may have to replace them soon. Resin crowns are more susceptible to cracks than any other material crowns.
All-ceramic or all-porcelain
Crowns made of ceramic and porcelain match the natural colour of the teeth. They are ideal for patients who have metal allergies. A crown made of ceramic is ideal for replacing both front and back teeth.
What is the procedure for getting a dental crown?
At the first visit to your dentist, expect him or her to examine your teeth. Examining the teeth gives your dentist an idea on which procedure to opt for. There are two processes that can help you get a dental crown: a traditional process and a quick one-hour process. No matter which process the dentist follows, you may first be asked to get an x-ray done for examining the site. A few x-rays will be enough for your dentist to analyse if your teeth roots are healthy. If the tooth that requires a crown has decayed to a great extent or it possesses a risk of infection, then the dentist will suggest that you undergo a root canal treatment first.
In the case of the traditional method, your tooth will need to be build-up once the root canal is done. Your dentist will use a filling to restore the tooth, so the crown will hold onto it better. First, you will get a temporary dental crown that will be later replaced with a permanent one. The next step involves getting the impression of your tooth to create the permanent crown. Your dentist will either use putty or a digital scanner for this task. The dental crown moulding or scan will then be sent to the dental lab for creating the permanent crown. You can expect the permanent crown to be made in 2-3 weeks. In the next visit, your dentist will take out the temporary crown and check the fit and colour of the permanent crown. If the permanent crown is perfect, your dentist will cement the new crown in its place.
The alternative to this traditional method is the ‘crown in one-hour method’ that is pretty quick, as its name suggests. With this procedure, you can expect your dentist to fix the crown in just one appointment. This is possible with the help of computer-aided design and computer aided manufacturing technologies. The computer-aided design makes it easy for the dentist to design the custom crown for you depending on the impression taken. On the other hand, computer-aided manufacturing technology allows for quickly creating the custom design. The steps involved in this procedure are almost the same as the traditional method. The only difference is that the dentist uses computer software to get the crown made in less than an hour.
How to take care of your dental crown?
Obviously, to take care of your dental crown, you will need to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Here are some tips for you to follow: Brush your teeth two times a day. Use a sensitivity toothpaste if the need be. Avoid eating sticky or chewy foods as they can loosen the dental crown. Avoid eating from the side on which you have recently got a crown fixed. Properly floss out the food particles from around the crown area. Don’t use your crown to do the job of a scissor. Do not grind your teeth to prevent your crown from wearing out soon. Get rid of bad habits like chewing your nails or chewing ice. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanups.
What problems could develop with a dental crown?
If you do not take proper care of your crown, there are chances of experiencing some dental problems.
If you do not clean your teeth thoroughly, there are chances of plaque getting accumulated at the point where the crown and the tooth meet. Though the collected plaque cannot decay the crown, it can decay the tooth. Hence it is necessary to brush and floss your teeth twice in a day.
Eating chewy food items can cause your crown to loosen up. In such a scenario, it is important to visit your dentist immediately. A loose crown can allow the bacteria to enter inside and further decay or damage the tooth.
Setting a crown for a tooth can irritate the nerves resting in the soft pulp of the tooth. Affected nerves can lead to slight or extreme pain. There are chances that you may notice the symptoms of nerve issues months after the fixing of the crown. In this case, it is best to consult your dentist to get a root canal done and the crown replaced.
A dark line at the gum
This problem is common with porcelain-infused-with-metal crowns. There are chances of the metal of the crown showing, which is why you can see a dark line. Though this is harmless, it is not aesthetically pleasing.