Dental crowns are full tooth coverage caps that are placed on vulnerable teeth to prevent cavities, fractures, chips, breakage and infections. Dental crowns can be either stainless steel, gold, ceramic, porcelain or porcelain bonded to metal. Each type of dental crown has its benefits and limitations. For example, a stainless steel crown is strong and durable but lacks aesthetics, so would be better suited for a back tooth than a front tooth. A porcelain crown has a high level of aesthetics but isn’t as durable so it would be best suited for a front tooth rather than a back tooth. The cost of each type of crown is also different, so it is essential to discuss with your dentist what kind of dental crown will work best for your individual needs.
When are Crowns Used?
Crowns are used when full coverage and protection of a tooth is needed. Often the tooth is vulnerable in some way to the outside environment and needs something to keep it stable. Dental crowns are recommended for:
- Teeth with large cavities
- Teeth with cavities in difficult to fix areas
- Root canal treated teeth
- Discoloured teeth or teeth with faulty enamel
- Teeth with fractures, trauma or chips
- Teeth with large fillings that need to be replaced
- For aesthetic purposes
Dental Crown Process
It usually takes two appointments to get a crown. During the first visit, the tooth will be sanded down to a smaller size to allow the future dental crown to fit on top. Old filling material and decay will be removed, so only healthy tooth structure remains. An impression will be taken of the tooth and surrounding area to send out to a lab to fabricate the permanent crown. A temporary crown will be bonded to the tooth in the meantime. The permanent crown will take about a week to be made at the lab and sent back. During the second visit, the temporary dental crown will be removed, and the permanent crown will be bonded. It is essential to return for the permanent crown as the temporary crown is not as strong, has a short life span and is susceptible to breaking, causing even more damage to the tooth.