An estimated 15 million people in the U.S. have dental crowns. Today, same day crowns are among the most common dental restoration procedures. Crowns are not only durable but have also demonstrated better dental health outcomes as a treatment for damaged teeth. But there are several alternatives to dental crowns, so it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into if your dentistry specialist recommends this procedure. Here’s all you need to know about dental crowns, the different types you can get, the procedure, and the outcomes – all so you can make informed decisions while achieving the best results when it comes to your dental care. So let’s take a bite!
WHAT IS A DENTAL CROWN?
A dental crown, also known as a tooth cap, is essentially a false tooth placed on top of an original tooth that has worn down or broken due to decay or trauma. Crowns can also be connected to an implant in case of a missing tooth, effectively serving as a lost tooth replacement. These tooth-shaped coverings are customized to match the surrounding teeth’s color, size, and shape. The restorative procedure is typically used to cover, protect, restore or beautify a weak or damaged tooth.
WHY DO PEOPLE NEED DENTAL CROWNS?
There are a variety of reasons why you may need a dental crown. Understanding these reasons will go a long way in helping you determine whether you are a suitable candidate for the restorative procedure. Some situations where a dental crown may be needed include:
- Protecting weak teeth and holding together parts of a cracked tooth
- Restoring a broken or severely worn out tooth
- Covering and supporting a tooth that is mainly covered with filling
- Covering misshapen teeth or enhancing the appearance of severely discolored teeth
- Restoring strength to a weakened tooth that has been treated with a root canal
- Covering the top of an implant to replace a missing tooth
- Holding a dental bridge in place
TYPES OF DENTAL CROWNS
There are many choices when it comes to dental crowns. Before getting a crown installed, it is beneficial to learn about the options available to you. Dental crowns can be either temporary or permanent and are also categorized depending on the materials they’re made from. So, exactly what are dental crowns made from? Here are the different types of dental crowns.
- Metal crowns
- All-resin crowns
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns
- Fused-to-metal or porcelain crowns
- Stainless steel crowns
HOW ARE DENTAL CROWNS PLACED?
The dental crown procedure typically takes two visits to the dentist, although we might do a same-day procedure, depending on what works best for everyone. Below are the steps of placing a crown.
During your first appointment, your dentist will:
- Talk you through your procedure step by step and answer any questions you might have.
- Examine and prepare the affected tooth for a crown. The examination usually involves X-rays and filing down the tooth to ensure the crown will fit.
- Next, your oral care provider will take an impression of your tooth and send it to the lab. The impression helps create an exact model of your tooth to fit your bite.
- Generally, it takes between two and three weeks to make a permanent crown. To protect your tooth during this period, your dentist will give you a temporary crown to wear.
On your second visit: Your dentist will remove the temporary crown, place the permanent crown in your mouth, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure you are comfortable. Once everything looks good, your dentist will permanently cement the crown in place.
HOW TO CARE FOR A TOOTH WITH A DENTAL CROWN
Once the porcelain crowns are placed, you must care for the affected tooth to prevent decay and gum disease. To protect the tooth with a dental crown, be sure to:
- Maintain good oral hygiene. Good dental hygiene includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily.
- Avoid chewing hard foods that could damage the crown.
- Use a night guard to protect the tooth, especially if you are clenching or grinding your teeth.
- Have the crown adjusted if it fits badly
- Visit your dentist regularly for dental exams and professional teeth cleaning.
PREVENTING THE NEED FOR A DENTAL CROWN
Prevention is always better than cure. You can take several steps to reduce your risk of ever needing a crown. Below are some tips to help you.
- Keep good oral habits
- Avoid chewing ice, jawbreakers, hard candies, and other hard foods
- Protect your teeth from accidents and other traumatic dental events
- Have all your dental problems tended to promptly
- Do not misuse your teeth – treat them like the special food chompers they are, rather than bottle-openers, scissors, or pliers!