Everything You Need to Know About Dental Crowns
Dental crowns, which are sometimes referred to as caps, are used to cover an entire tooth. Typically, dental crowns are fabricated from durable materials such as gold, zirconia, and porcelain. Once a crown is fitted, it provides superior protection for the underlying tooth while improving the appearance of a patient’s smile.
What Do Dental Crowns Accomplish?
A dental crown is an excellent way to preserve the structural integrity of a damaged or decayed tooth while restoring its shape, appearance, and health. Custom-made to cover the tooth’s entire surface area, crowns are an effective treatment for broken, weak, and cracked teeth. By restoring the strength of a damaged tooth, a dentist can reduce or eliminate tooth sensitivity and pain. Crowns also conceal aesthetic flaws, bringing patients more balanced, radiant smiles.
Dental Crown Benefits
Although there are numerous ways to replace irreparably damaged and missing teeth, it’s best to salvage as much of the natural tooth as possible. Apart from the removal of damaged areas, dental crowns require some reshaping of the tooth. Crowns protect the foundation of the tooth, which may be lost if a condition is not treated. When properly placed and maintained, crowns help patients avoid serious problems, such as bone loss, tooth shifting, and infection.
Why Do Patients Need Dental Crowns?
In many cases, dental crowns are necessary when patients have damaged teeth with a lack of structural integrity. With time and trauma, a person’s teeth can become seriously damaged. A simple filling won’t offer enough strength in severe cases, putting the patient at risk of further tooth damage and potential loss. A dental crown can help to preserve a patient’s oral and overall health by protecting what’s left of their natural teeth.
Choosing the Right Type of Crown
Dental crowns are customized to fit precisely over a patient’s teeth, and they are designed to closely replicate the appearance and size of natural teeth. The materials used to make these crowns are long-lasting and durable. Below, you’ll find a few popular options.
- Porcelain on metal. These crowns are composed of a thin metal alloy framework and a porcelain outer shell. Porcelain on metal crowns have been used for decades, simply because they’re reliable and offer good results.
- All porcelain or ceramic crowns. These have no metal, which means they’re closest in appearance to a patient’s natural teeth. Porcelain crowns are perfect for the restoration of front teeth, and they create a beautiful, natural smile. The materials used closely replicate the appearance of tooth enamel, offering a comparable degree of translucency.
- Zirconia crowns. These crowns are also free of metal, but they are significantly stronger than their ceramic counterparts. Zirconia crowns are a great choice for the restoration of back teeth where there’s limited space, and they are also good for patients suffering from bruxism (tooth grinding). The material is wear-resistant, and it won’t harm surrounding teeth. Some crowns are entirely made of zirconia, while others are composed of a zirconia subframe that’s covered in porcelain. While older zirconia crowns caused a few problems because the whiteness of the material was tough to mask, modern crowns have no such disadvantage. Because the material is pre-colored to match the patient’s teeth, today’s zirconia crowns offer a life-like, natural look.
Although some crowns are made of polished gold, these are becoming less common as natural-looking materials are more available. These days, gold crowns are used only on rear teeth that are less visible.
What to Expect During the Crowning Process
Dental crowns typically require two office visits: one to prepare the crown itself, and one to fit it over the damaged tooth. In the sections below, we’ll explain the process.
The First Visit
During the initial visit, the dentist will numb the area before preparing the tooth. Here, any signs of infection or decay are removed, and the tooth is shaped so it’s ready for the crown. The dentist must remove enough of the tooth’s original structure to make room for the crown’s strong, thick, and durable structure.
After the tooth has been prepared, the dentist will take an impression and choose the right porcelain shade for a perfect match. This information is typically sent to a dental lab, where the crown is custom made. A temporary crown is fitted over the prepared tooth, protecting it and restoring the appearance of the patient’s smile while they wait for the new crown to be made.
The Second Visit
Most patients do not need dental anesthetics during the second visit. Here, the temporary crown is carefully removed, and the customized crown is put into place. The dentist will check the crown’s fit and the patient’s bite, adjusting as needed. The patient will approve the crown’s appearance before it is permanently bonded into place.
How Long Will a Crown Last?
With proper care, a porcelain crown will last for many years before it needs to be replaced. Most patients can expect crowns to last for a decade or more; zirconia crowns may last even longer. However, a crown’s longevity depends on the level of care it receives. Regular flossing and brushing are important, and regular checkups will also help to prolong the life of a dental crown. However, no dental restoration can last forever.
The Cost of Crowns
The cost of a dental crown will depend on the severity of the damage and the materials used in construction. Porcelain on metal crowns are a cost-effective choice, but they’re not the most aesthetically pleasing one. Zirconia crowns are durable enough to be used anywhere in a patient’s mouth, and ceramic crowns are the most natural and visually appealing choice.
Call Today for More Information
Our cosmetic dentistry experts can discuss every option that’s appropriate for your situation and they will explain the benefits and disadvantages of each choice. As with all other treatments we provide, we’ll ensure that you have the information needed to make an informed decision. No matter which option you select, you’re sure to receive a crown that’s durable, functional, and beautiful. Request more information online or call today to schedule a consultation.