Dental crowns are fixed dental prosthesis that cover the upper part of a natural tooth. Also known as “caps,” the dental crowns is of the most commonly employed treatments in the dental clinics. It is a cap that is tooth shaped and covers a particular tooth to re-establish its size, appearance, shape and improve its strength.
When is a dental crown needed?
Dental crown is recommended in cases, including:
An advanced tooth decay which cannot be treated with a filling
A severely cracked tooth, which needs extra support to stay together
Excessively worn out teeth (caused by tooth grinding or acid reflux, bulimia or acidic diet)
To support a bridge
To cover a tooth implant
Cosmetic reasons, when a tooth is severely discolored or misshaped
Types of dental crowns
There are various types of dental crowns to choose from:
Metal crowns: It comprises of gold and other base metal alloys. They are durable and last longer in comparison to the other types of dental crowns. The biggest drawback is its distinct color.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns: This type of dental crown can easily be matched to the color of the neighboring teeth. Though it looks natural, it is subjected to wear and tear.
All resin crowns: It is an economical option but is vulnerable to fractures and damages.
All-Ceramic Crowns: It is an ideal choice if you are looking for natural looking tooth but aren’t strong. It is highly recommended for a front tooth.
Gold crowns: It is made of gold but is rarely suggested for aesthetic appeal.
Zirconia crowns: It is the most strong and natural looking type of crown but highly expensive.
Dental crown procedure
The dental crown procedure is done in at least two sessions. During the first appointment, the dentist performs an X-ray of the affected tooth to evaluate its health. If the root is healthy, they move on to a hands-on examination which involves the status of the tooth’s crown (the upper part of the tooth). If the pulp is inflamed or infected, a root canal treatment is done. If there was an abscess at the tooth’s root, an antibiotic treatment would be prescribed, and you will need to return after a week or two to continue the procedure. If the tooth’s pulp has not been affected, the decayed areas are removed, and the tooth’s edges are smoothed to fit the future crown. The amount of tooth taken out depends on the type of crown used. The metal ones are thinner and require a wider base while porcelain crowns are thicker and need a thin base. If the natural tooth is too small to support the crown, the dentist will add material to compensate. Once the base is brought to the right dimension to fit the crown, the dentist uses a paste to take the impressions of your teeth. Impressions on both upper and lower teeth are taken, so that the crown will perfectly fit the space which needs to be covered and will not impact the opposite teeth. At the end of the appointment, a temporary crown can be fitted for your comfort (although it is not compulsory). The impression is sent to a dental lab, where the crown is produced. Usually, it takes two to three weeks for the crown to be sent back to the dental office. When the crown is available, you will be invited to the office for the fitting. The crown is attached to the shaped tooth using cement. You will not be able to eat for one-two hours until the cement is fully hardened. The dental crown acts as a normal tooth and does not need special maintenance. A proper dental hygiene is enough to keep it in good shape for a long period.