Posts for tag: crown
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.
The preferred outcome when treating a tooth for decay is to preserve it. If the disease is still in its early stages, we can accomplish this effectively by removing diseased tissue and then restoring the remaining tooth with filling material.
There comes a point, however, when filling a tooth isn’t the best option. If it has already received several fillings, the tooth may have become too weak to receive another. Additionally, a filling may not be enough protection from further fracture or infection for teeth weakened from trauma or abnormal tooth wear or in the event a root canal treatment is necessary.
While a diseased tooth can be extracted and replaced with a durable and aesthetically pleasing dental implant, there may be another option to consider — installing a crown. Like a filling, a crown preserves what remains of a natural tooth, but with better protection, life expectancy and appearance than a filling.
Known also as a cap, a crown completely covers or “caps” a natural tooth. They’re produced in a variety of styles and materials to match the function and appearance of the capped tooth and adjacent teeth. Crowns made of porcelain are ideally suited for visible teeth because of their resemblance to tooth enamel. A less visible tooth that endures more biting force (like a back molar) may need the strength of a precious metal like gold or new-age porcelains that can also withstand significant biting forces. There are also hybrid crowns available that combine the strength of metal for biting surfaces and the life-like appearance of porcelain for the more visible areas of a tooth.
To prepare a tooth for a crown, we first remove any decayed structure and add bonding material to strengthen what remains. We then make a mold of the tooth and bite, which is typically sent to a dental technician as a guide for creating the permanent crown. Recent advances with digital technology have also made it possible to mill the permanent crown out of porcelain in the dental office while you wait.
After the permanent crown is received and permanently bonded to the tooth, you will have a protected and fully functional tooth. From this point on it’s important for you to clean and care for it as you would any other tooth since the underlying tooth is still at risk for decay. The good news is your tooth has been saved with a bonus — a long-term solution that’s also smile-transforming.
If you would like more information on crowns and other tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”