Posted by Dr. Julie Boudreault On 16-12-2019
The idea of having a dental crown placed on your tooth can seem frightening or intimidating; however, there is nothing to fear. Dental crown restorations are one of the most common procedures performed by dentists. The procedure is safe and in many cases, necessary and highly beneficial. You can help restore not only the health of your teeth but the appearance of your mouth by having a crown fitted on to your tooth.
What is a dental crown?
A crown, by definition, is an ornament designed to sit atop or serve as the highest point on whatever it is placed on. A dental crown can be described in much the same way, with a few additional purposes. A dental crown is a “cap” shaped like a tooth, which serves many useful purposes. When the crown is placed on the tooth, it helps to restore the tooth’s shape, size, strength, and improve its appearance. When a permanent crown is placed on a tooth and becomes fully cemented, the visible portion of the tooth, starting from the gum line, becomes fully encased inside the crown.
Why would I need a dental crown?
You may require a dental crown for several reasons. These reasons may be cosmetic or medical and can include the following:
- Protection. A crown may be used to protect a tooth from damage or decay. It can also serve as a form of protection for broken or cracked teeth by holding the cracked or broken pieces of the tooth together. Additionally, a crown may be used to hold a dental bridge in place. Crowns are also placed on baby teeth to protect them from damage or decay, especially for children who have difficulty maintaining good oral hygiene.
- Coverage. A crown may be used to cover a tooth that has a large filling or to cover a dental implant. Additionally, if a tooth has been severely discoloured, a crown can help cover this up, while colour matching it to your remaining teeth.
- Restoration. A crown may be placed on a tooth that has been broken or worn down to help restore it. When a tooth breaks or undergoes decay, it leaves a gap in your teeth. A gap in your teeth can be very troublesome, allowing adjacent teeth to begin migrating into the empty space and ultimately disrupting your teeth’s correct positioning. A crown can help fill up the gap created by damage or decay and restore the proper structure of your mouth.
Different Types of Dental Crowns
Permanent crowns come in several forms and are made from many different materials, which range in their level of resilience and durability. These types of crowns can include the following:
- Stainless steel: These crowns are built to be used on permanent teeth for temporary purposes. The temporary stainless steel crown protects the tooth or filling until they are replaced by the permanent crowns made from another material.
- Metals: Such as gold or platinum are used in crowns made of metal alloys. Crowns that are made of metal can withstand the daily wear and tear involved with chewing and biting and rarely, if ever, chip or break. Metal crowns are mainly used to cover teeth that are not usually visible when you smile, like molars.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crown: In order to match the crown on a visible tooth to the adjacent teeth, a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown is used. The porcelain portion provides the natural tooth appearance, while the metal portion provides the strength. In some cases, however, the metal portion underneath of the porcelain cover can appear as a dark line and this line may become more obvious if your gums begin to recede. Although these types of crowns can be colour matched, they are also more prone to wear and tear, chipping, or breaking, compared to metal crowns.
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain: These types of crowns provide the best and most natural tooth appearance compared to any other type of crown. They can be used for any tooth. They are, however, prone to wear and tear, chipping, or breaking, but can be a good alternative for individuals who are allergic to metal.
- All-resin: Crowns can also be made entirely of resin, which is an organic substance exuded by some trees and plants. These types of dental crowns are relatively less expensive; however, they wear down over time and can be fractured.
How are dental crowns installed?
The process of installing a dental crown is typically a process that requires two separate visits to the dentist. The first visit involves examination and preparation of the tooth for the crown and the placement of the permanent crown during the second visit.
- First visit:
- Your tooth and its surrounding gum tissue will first be examined for any signs of damage or decay. If any decay is detected, a root canal may be performed first.
- In order to prepare the tooth for placement of a crown, the dentist will first apply an anesthetic to the tooth receiving the crown and the area surrounding it. A dental drill will be used to remove the outer surface of the tooth from the top and all of its sides. This essentially serves as a “shaving” process for the tooth to create room for the crown to sit on top of it. Alternatively, if the tooth is damaged or there isn’t enough of it left, the dentist will use a filling to slightly reshape the tooth before making an impression.
- Once the outer surface of the tooth has been removed, your dentist will create an impression of the tooth. To make an impression, the dentist may use dental impression paste, putty, or a digital scanner. This impression will be used to create a permanent crown at the lab.
- A temporary crown, usually made out of acrylic, will be placed on the tooth so that it doesn’t remain uncovered until your permanent crown arrives. During the two to three weeks before you receive your permanent crown, be careful not to damage your temporary crown by avoiding hard or sticky foods and using the side of the mouth with the temporary crown as less as possible.
- Second visit:
- At the second visit, your temporary crown will be removed, and the new crown will be properly installed onto your tooth.
- To firmly attach the crown, the dentist will use a special cement to join the crown to the tooth.
How do I care for my crown?
It’s easy to assume that a crowned tooth is not susceptible to any damage. However, this is untrue, and it’s essential to care for your crowned tooth, the same as you would for any other. Crowns can break just like the teeth they cover, and the tooth under a crown is still susceptible to cavities. In order to prevent any damage and keep your teeth healthy, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene practises. Be careful to protect your crown from any breakage by avoiding chewing any hard foods such as ice or hard objects such as pencils. If you experience any concerns with your new crown, such as severe sensitivity or have a loose crown, chipped, or has fallen off, visit the dentist to have it replaced or repaired.
Whatever dental concerns you may have, our team at Milltown Dental can provide you with the assistance you need. There’s no reason to spend time in pain when you can call Milltown Dental today at (905) 878-8528 to book an appointment with us, or click here to visit our website and learn more about our dental crown installations and other services.