All You Need To Know About Dental Crown
Dental crown, to explain in the simplest terms possible, is an artificial cover that is customized for a patient’s tooth. The dental crown procedure is generally performed to restore a tooth’s original shape, size, strength, or to enhance performance that have been lost due to various reasons from tooth decay to various other periodontal diseases.
The goal of this procedure is to place the dental crown on the designated place, so it can perfectly encase the tooth for protection.
If you are currently considering a dental crown procedure, here are a few things you should know:
When Is a Dental Crown Necessary?
In general, here are the common scenarios where a dental crown is needed:
- Tooth decay that can’t be treated with other means, for example when the cavity is too big
- Cracked tooth, or severely damaged tooth that is too weak
- Tooth restoration after a root canal procedure
- Dental implants
- Missing teeth
- Purely cosmetic reasons like badly shaped teeth or discolored teeth
Dental crown procedure is not only exclusive for adults, as it is also often implemented on baby teeth, for example on severe cases where anesthesia is not possible for a successful tooth removal procedure.
Here are the more common scenarios where a dental crown is required, and a basic breakdown of the procedures:
1.Cosmetic dental crown procedures
In these cases, a dental crown is not absolutely necessary for health reasons, so the main reason here is cosmetic. The examples for this are discolored teeth, damaged/decayed teeth, or when a tooth has an ugly feeling.
2.Severely decayed tooth that is close to breaking
Dental crown is a common treatment for severely cracked teeth, especially when the structure of the tooth is at risk. A dental crown here will provide relief for the pain, cover the cavity, and will also enhance the overall strength of the damaged tooth.
3. To complement a root canal procedure
Root canal is often a preferred procedure when a tooth is irreparably damaged (cavity, decay, or severe infection). A dental crown is often implemented after a root canal procedure to close the enlarged cavity and restore the tooth’s strength and performance.
4. To accompany a dental implant procedure
Dental implant is, in a nutshell, a replacement procedure when a tooth is missing its roots. Once the dental implant is placed properly, the dental crown can cover the top of the implant as a part of permanent restoration. The crown can emulate the strength of a normal tooth.
The Different Types of Dental Crowns
There are five different types of dental crowns, each is preferred for specific procedures with their own characteristics (which we will discuss below). The five different types are:
1. Base-metal alloy: the crown is made from corrosive-resistant metal material, and is very strong in nature. One of the biggest advantages of a base-metal crown is that it requires the least amount of tooth removal compared to other types.
2. Porcelain or ceramic: made of a porcelain-based material, which has a similar color to natural teeth. Commonly used to restore front teeth, and is also a good choice for those allergic to metal.
3. Porcelain-fused to metal: the metal structure provides extra strength while retaining the natural color of the porcelain. Very durable, but can cause more wear to the nearby teeth. The porcelain part is also relatively weak and susceptible to break.
4. Gold alloy: usually this type of crown is made by mixing gold with copper and other metals. As with metal crown, very strong and unbreakable.
5. Resin: the most affordable type, but also wears down faster. Prone to cracking.
Some notable differences in characteristics:
- In general, all-porcelain and resin crowns are prone to leakage, while the other types have very good sealing abilities.
- For durability, gold and metal crowns are the best choices. Porcelain-metal crown offers the best of both worlds between durability and natural color preference.
- Porcelain-based crowns (including porcelain-fused with metal ones) are relatively durable, but can damage opposing teeth when the surface becomes rougher. Metal and gold alloys are relatively more gentle on opposing teeth.
- Crowns can last a lifetime when maintained properly. The maintenance, in most cases, will only require regular oral hygiene habits like brushing twice a day and flossing daily.
An Overview of The Dental Crown Procedure
Generally a dental crown procedure would require two different appointments:
1. First visit
The first appointment is about examining and preparing the tooth, in which an X-ray to check the root condition is taken. If required, a root canal procedure will proceed the crown procedure.
For the actual crown procedure, a local anesthesia is performed to numb the area around the tooth, and a removal of some of the tooth will be performed to give room for the crown. The amount of tooth removed will vary depending on the crown’s size and type.
Using a digital scanner, the dentist at North York Smile Centre will make a model of the tooth, as well as the surrounding teeth to make sure you can bite properly with the crown placed. A temporary crown will be fitted here, as the actual, permanent crown can require up to two weeks of manufacturing.
2. Second visit
The second visit is about removing the temporary crown and fitting the permanent one. Several key considerations are made in this second appointment:
- Whether the crown fits
- Whether your overall bite is affected with the crown
- Whether the crown’s color match your actual teeth
If all went well, the permanent crown will be placed.
After the procedure, you should avoid chewing for a few hours, and you should avoid sticky foods for up to two weeks. If necessary, your dentist might recommend a mouth guard for sleeping purposes.
There are two main goals of a dental crown procedure: cosmetic purposes and repair a damaged tooth that is often painful. Typically a dental crown procedure is straightforward with minimum risks involved, and won’t require long recovery period. Make sure, however, to consult your dentist thoroughly to get the best possible options according to your needs.