A dental crown is a form of tooth cap that’s placed over a reconstructed tooth to help restore its functionality and aesthetics. The crown is cemented to hold it in place and encases the entire portion of the tooth right up to the gum line. If done correctly, a dental crown may last for 15 years before it needs replacing. This article will cover dental crowns in full detail to help familiarize yourself with this restoration procedure.
Different types of crowns
Crowns are made up of different types of materials. Depending on the patient’s wants and needs, a dentist will select the right material that provides optimum strength, support, and structure to the damaged tooth. Here are the different types of crowns used today:
- Ceramic or porcelain crowns – These types of dental crowns provide the most natural colour and is best suited for people who have metal allergies. Ceramic or porcelain crowns can be made for both front and back teeth. The only downside is that these materials can wear down the opposing teeth pretty quickly.
- Resin crowns – Resin crowns are the most affordable of the crown types. They’re usually made of a composite material similar to what’s used in tooth fillings, meaning they appear natural-looking like ceramic or porcelain crowns. They may not be an ideal long-term fix though, as resin crowns are susceptible to fractures due to wear and tear.
- Metal crowns – In terms of durability and structure, metal crowns are hands-down the best. They rarely break or chip and withstand chewing and biting forces without any problems. Metal crowns can be made of different metals like chromium, nickel, gold, stainless steel, and palladium. If you don’t mind the metallic colour, metal crowns are an ideal choice. We recommend choosing metal crowns for out-of-sight molars as the colour can somewhat ruin the appearance of your teeth.
- Porcelain fused to metal crowns (PFM) – PMF crowns are a hybrid type of crown made from porcelain and metal. A metal core caps the tooth and porcelain/ceramic is layered on top for a more natural look. PFM crowns are more durable than resin crowns due to the metal framework. However, the metal may sometimes appear as a dark line under the porcelain/ceramic cap. The porcelain/ceramic layer may also be susceptible to breaks or chips when worn down by opposing teeth.
How a crown is placed
Usually, crown placement requires 2 visits to the dentist’s office. There are several steps involved in placing a crown and these are:
1. Preparing the tooth – Your dentist prepares the tooth by reconstructing its outer portion for an exact, glove-like fit. If the tooth requires additional structure to support the crown, your dentist will rebuild the core of the tooth to make it stronger.
2. Creating an impression of the tooth – From there, the dentist creates an impression of your tooth to which the crown will be designed. Thanks to modern technology, the impression can be created by digitally scanning the tooth. A mould may be used as well if the dentist doesn’t have access to this technology.
3. Placing the temporary crown – While waiting for the permanent crown, your dentist will place a temporary crown to protect your tooth. It takes 2 weeks for the permanent crown to be made and during this time, it’s crucial that you look after your tooth to prevent its structure from getting damaged.
4. Cementing the permanent crown – Once the new crown is ready, your dentist makes the necessary adjustments before installing it. When you feel satisfied with the way the dental crown looks and feels, your dentist will cement it in place.
Why a dental crown is needed
A dental crown is a form of restorative dentistry that helps maintain the health and functionality of your teeth. There are a number of instances where a dental crown is needed and here are some examples:
- If you have a tooth that is severely decayed, cracked, or broken, a crown will restore the lost parts of the tooth and hold it together to prevent further damage.
- If you intend to replace missing teeth with a dental bridge, a crown may serve as an anchor point to hold the bridge in place.
- If you intend to make cosmetic modifications to your teeth, a crown is a viable solution. Your dentist can create dental crowns that look aesthetically pleasing by matching the right shape and colour to the rest of your teeth.
- If one of your teeth has been filled several times, chances are the tooth structure has been weakened. A crown provides additional strength to the remaining tooth so it can withstand chewing and biting forces.
- If you’ve undergone root canal treatment, the tooth becomes weak and brittle. Therefore, dental crowns are placed to restore their structure and strength.
All things considered, dental crowns are an excellent option for restoring your teeth back to good health. Keep in mind that while a tooth has been crowned, it does not make it invulnerable to decay or gum disease. That said, it’s vital that you continue to follow good oral practices to maximise the crown’s lifespan and prevent it from cracking or breaking. Make sure to inquire with a reputable dentist in Joondalup about dental crowns to find out which type of crown best suits your tooth.