A dental crown is a “cap” that is placed over a tooth. A crown will fully cover the portion of the tooth that lies above the gum line.
Crowns are made either entirely of porcelain or they consist of porcelain that is bonded to some form of metal alloy. The metal alloy provides the extra strength that is often necessary for your molars, which are used for grinding and crushing your food. Porcelain is designed to match the colour of your neighbouring teeth, so if you are receiving a crown on your front, visible teeth, more than likely it will be crafted out of porcelain.
A dental crown restores a tooth’s shape, size, and strength. It fully encases the visible portion of your tooth or dental implant.With proper care and good oral hygiene, the life of a crown can range from 5 to 15 years.
Why are Dental Crowns Necessary?
A dental crown is needed when a tooth is broken or a large portion of the tooth is lost. This loss could be from an injury, or it could simply be from tooth decay. Generally, if the tooth is damaged or decayed to a point where it would not hold a large filling, it will need a crown to cover the structure and protect the part of the tooth that is still remaining.
Teeth are used for things other than just biting and chewing, and there are additional reasons why a crown might be needed:
- To improve appearance or speech
- To prevent neighbouring teeth from shifting
- To prevent stresses causing damage to other teeth who are taking too much force
Based on your dental and medical history, x-rays of your teeth and jaws, and an oral examination, your dentist will recommend the treatment which is best for you.
A crown may be prescribed by your Dentist to:
- Restore and protect a tooth that is worn, decayed, cracked, or broken
- Protect and support a tooth after a very large filling or root canal treatment
- Cover a dental implant
- Hold a dental bridge or other prosthetic device in place
- Improve your smile by covering a misshapen or severely discolored tooth
Your Dentist will recommend the best type of crown for your dental restoration needs based on the chewing placement and structure of the tooth or implant that requires protection. There are three types of crowns. Each type has its own characteristics and qualities:
Porcelain is attractive, strong, stable, and highly resistant to wear. It offers a high level of biocompatibility because it does not contain metal.
A porcelain crown provides the best natural color match to the rest of your teeth and is an excellent choice for front teeth.
Metal offers strength and endurance. A metal crown may be recommended for back teeth where the forces of biting and chewing are the greatest. A metal crown rarely chips or breaks. In addition, it requires minimal removal of tooth structure.
A gold or other high-noble metal crown offers biocompatibility. A base metal crown is often the least expensive treatment options; however, it lacks biocompatibility and may cause allergic reactions or gumline discoloration.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal offers the benefits of a natural surface color that resembles the rest of your teeth and the strength of a metal substructure.
While there are several advantages to selecting this type of crown, it requires the removal of more tooth structure than other types of crowns. This means that there is greater potential for patient discomfort during the treatment procedure.
What will my procedure involve?
It will require at least two appointments for the preparation and fitting of your crown.
The first appointment will consist of the dentist taking an impression of your upper and lower teeth. This will give them a permanent record of how your jaws fit together when they are closed. The area around the tooth is then numbed, and the tooth is drilled to reshape it to be one to two millimetres smaller than before. Another impression is taken, and both sets of impressions are sent to a dental technician who will make the crown according to specifications from your dentist.
A temporary crown will be placed on your tooth until the permanent crown is ready to be fitted. The temporary crown is strong, but not as strong as your permanent crown will be, so you may want to chew carefully… and avoid sticky, hard foods.
At your second appointment, the temporary crown is removed, and your permanent crown is checked for colour match and fit in your mouth. It is then permanently cemented to your reshaped tooth, and your dentist will check your bite. The crown should feel natural and comfortable in your mouth. Be sure to mention any discomfort or or strange sensations to your dentist as minor adjustments may be needed