- by Dr. Karanjit Dhillon
- September 12, 2022
What are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are gold, silver, or metal caps that are placed on top of a damaged or chipped tooth to cover it and restore its natural function, size, strength, and improve its appearance.
They can protect the teeth and restore their shape when fillings fail to do so.
When Would You Need a Dental Crown?
- When the tooth has an extremely large filling, bigger than the natural tooth structure.
- A decayed tooth needs protection from breaking or parts of a cracked tooth need to be held together.
- A dental bridge needs to be held in place
- A root canal therapy is performed
- There is a combination of root canal therapy and a large filling
- A crown is needed for cosmetic reasons
- One needs to cover discolored or misshapen teeth.
The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Usually placed after a root canal or a dental implant procedure, dental crowns are custom-made by dental technicians in a lab to make sure that they blend in with the patient’s natural teeth.
The decision of the best option is taken by a dentist after considering the following factors:
- Tooth’s Location and function
- Gum tissue and gum line’s position
- The visibility of the tooth while smiling or speaking
- Colors & shades of the surrounding teeth
- The decision about the type of material to be used also depends on the signs of clenching or teeth grinding, if any
The other factors which may be put into consideration while choosing a crown are its cost, endurance & durability.
The dental specialists at Morgan Hill Dentistry discuss all the available options to help the patients to make the best-informed decision according to their needs.
What are Dental Crowns Made of?
The dental crowns can be made of different materials including:
The strength and durability of the Gold Crowns are considered to be their main advantage. They are made with a combination of copper and other metals, like nickel or chromium.
Owing to their endurance and durability, they can last a long time with proper care. However, their color and aesthetics don’t make them a very popular or common choice.
Several different types of metals used in dental crowns may include gold, palladium, nickel, and cobalt-chromium.
They last the longest as they have minimum wear down and rarely chip or break. Moreover, they require only a small amount of the tooth to be removed.
They can well endure the biting and chewing forces and are a viable choice for out-of-sight molars due to their metallic color.
These crowns can be easily matched to the color of the surrounding teeth owing to their almost natural color. However, the metal under the crown’s porcelain cap is sometimes visible as a dark line, and even more so in the case of the receding gums.
Also, there is a possibility of the chipping off of the crown’s porcelain portion. They are usually deemed to be a good option for front or back teeth and long bridges where the metal is sought for its strength.
These crowns are made out of resin and are normally less costly than other crown types. However, they wear down over time, becoming more inclined to breakage and chipping off as compared to the porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
All-Ceramic or all-Porcelain
These types of crowns match the best natural teeth when compared to other crown types. These are also considered good options for patients with metal allergies.
Considered to be a good choice for front teeth, they are not as strong and durable as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
These crowns process a hard inner core that replaces the metal liner utilized in making all-ceramic crowns. When capped with porcelain, they give the best natural color match. These are also more long-lasting than all-porcelain crowns.
Zirconia, one of the latest materials used to make crowns, incorporates the resilience of metal with the aesthetics of porcelain crowns to give you strong and long-lasting crowns.
As the Zirconia can be cut and shaped at the same dental office without sending them over to a dental lab, their process is less time-consuming. They also do not cause any allergic reactions as they are metal free.
It is imperative to mention that their strength can sometimes easily wear down the teeth they bite against.
Also Read: What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
What is the Procedure for Getting the Dental Crown?
There are usually two types of procedures for getting dental crowns:
Multi-day Procedure with Temporary Crown
The conventional method usually requires the patients to visit the dentist’s office twice.
During the first visit, the tooth needing the crown is examined & prepared. X-rays of the tooth or mouth are also taken during this visit.
The dentist then files down and removes a part of the outer layer of the tooth to reshape it along the chewing surface and sides, making room for the crown.
Impressions of the teeth above and below the tooth to receive the dental crown are also made to ensure that the crown will not affect your bite.
An impression of the trimmed tooth and the surrounding teeth is then taken using a paste or putty.
A root canal treatment may be first recommended in cases where there is substantial decay or any risk of infection or injury to the tooth’s pulp.
A temporary crown is then put over the tooth to protect it. The impression is then sent to a lab to make the crown. This process can take a few days.
The patient is again called for the second visit after the crown comes in, and the crown is cemented to the tooth.
The temporary crown is then removed and the fit and color of the permanent crown are checked. If everything goes well and is acceptable, a local anesthetic is used to numb the tooth and cement the new crown permanently in place.
Same-day Procedure with Dental Crowns?
This procedure allows skipping of the ‘temporary crown step’. The dentist takes digital pictures of the mouth to create the crown right there in the office using the digital scan.
The crown is usually made within 1 to 2 hours after which the dentist cements it into place.
However, all dentists might not have the technology to make same-day crowns. You will need to check the option and its cost with your dentist.
What Problems Can Develop with a Dental Crown?
Discomfort or Sensitivity
The newly crowned tooth may be sensitive right after the procedure as the anesthesia wears off. Some heat and cold sensitivity may also be experienced if the tooth that has been crowned still has a nerve in it. You may be advised to brush your teeth with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
Pain and Sensitivity
If you experience pain or sensitivity on biting down, it may indicate that the crown is too high on the tooth. In this case, one must call the dentist to fix the problem.
Sometimes the Crowns are made of all porcelain or porcelain fused to a metal can chip. In the case of a small chip, a composite resin can be used to repair it with the crown remaining in place. However, in case of extensive chipping, the crown may need to be replaced.
The cement may sometimes wash out from under the crown making it lose bacteria and allowing the bacteria to leak in, causing decay to the tooth that remains. One must contact the dentist immediately if a crown feels loose.
Crown Falling Off
Crowns may sometimes fall off due to decay of the underlying tooth and the loosening of the cementing material used to place the crown.
In case the crown comes off, one must clean it and the front of the tooth and replace the crown temporarily with a dental adhesive or temporary tooth cement sold in stores for this purpose. At the same time, it is also important to contact your dentist’s office as soon as possible.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
The dental crowns on average can last anywhere between 5 to 15 years with proper care.
The longevity of a crown mainly depends on the amount of wear and tear it is exposed to and the oral hygiene practices.
One must brush the teeth at least twice daily and floss once a day, especially around the crown area. Also, make it a habit to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash daily.
How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?
The cost of the crowns depends on many factors like the material used in the crown and the size of the tooth.
Crowns like All-metal crowns, which are made of a metal alloy, are normally cheaper than the gold or porcelain versions.
The cost of the crown may also increase if a root canal or a dental implant is needed, before putting the crown.
The dental specialists at Morgan Hill Dentistry can explain to you about the suitable crown for your needs and also help you to figure out the cost of treatment.
We are here to fix any dental issues you may have and give you a wide, sparkling smile!