What Are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are restorative dental fixtures that fortify teeth that have become weak or have sustained extensive damage.
Types Of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are similar in the way that they work and, in general, the way that they look. Most people choose crowns that are made from materials that look like natural teeth. Common options include:
- Composite resin
- Porcelain fused to metal
Gold crowns also continue to be an option, typically for posterior tooth repair. Each type of crown has a particular strength which could relate to how long it will last. During our consultation for crown treatment, we describe the various options and are happy to provide detailed information about the benefits of each type.
How Do Crowns Work?
Crowns, also called caps, are durable structures that are made to look like a tooth. They are affixed over the entire visible portion of a damaged tooth to act as a buffer to the force of biting and chewing. By absorbing this force for the tooth, the crown protects the underlying structure from further damage.
When Are Crowns Needed?
There are a few reasons why a person may need a dental crown. Most often, crowns are used for restorative purposes rather than cosmetic improvement, though both are possible. Restoratively, a crown may be used to:
- Hold a cracked tooth together.
- Replace a missing tooth via a bridge or dental implant.
- Support a tooth after root canal therapy.
- Stabilize a tooth in which an old filling has failed.
“The staff at Hiebert Smith Dental Group really make you feel a part of the “family”. They care about you as a whole person and especially want to make your experience at the dentist comfortable. They listen to your concerns and come up with plans to make your smile the best!”
What Are The Benefits Of Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are beneficial because they protect teeth from additional damage. The crowns that are made today are lifelike so they do not detract from the appearance of the smile. Treatment is convenient, conducted over two office visits, after which patients can quickly resume normal activities and dietary habits.
How Crowns Are Made
Dental crowns are made in a dental lab using the impressions taken in our office. This impression includes not only the damaged tooth but also the teeth next to it and those that are opposite of it (the teeth that will come together during chewing). From this impression, the lab technician creates a model of what the crown will look like, including its size and general shape that will fit against the opposing tooth. This model is a type of cast that will receive a liquid-form of porcelain or softened metal that can then be shaped into the final crown.
The Dental Crown Procedure
Steps to crown treatment include:
- A local anesthetic is administered to numb the treatment area.
- A tiny drill is used to remove damaged enamel. This instrument also reduces the tooth slightly so the crown can fit securely over it.
- An impression is made of the tooth. This guides the creation of the new crown by providing the general shape of the tooth needing repair as well as its opposing tooth.
- A temporary crown is affixed using dental cement. This enables chewing while we wait for the final crown to be returned.
- Treatment is finalized by removing the temporary crown, cleaning all cement debris from around the tooth, and evaluating the fit of the final crown. Adjustments may be made to assure a good fit against the opposing tooth. The crown is bonded to the tooth for long-term stability. This final step in the treatment process may not require local anesthetic because no drilling takes place.
Comfort Is Our Top Priority
It is important for us to make treatment as comfortable as possible for each of our patients. When a dental crown is needed, we administer a local anesthetic before we begin the procedure. Overall, the preparation conducted for a dental crown is very similar to that of cavity repair. During the procedure, patients may feel pressure on the jaw as damaged tooth material is removed with the dental drill.
How To Care For Dental Crowns
Dental crowns only cover the hard-tissue of a tooth. The margins of the crown sit along the gum line around the tooth. For this reason, it is necessary to brush and floss carefully around teeth that have dental crowns. Good oral hygiene around crowns inhibits gum recession. Maintaining secure margins decreases the risk of bacteria entering the root area through weak gums. We also help our patients care for their crowns by thoroughly evaluating them during routine dental checkups and examining the gum tissue around the crowned tooth.
How Long Do Crowns Last?
Dental crowns can last from 5 years to over 15 years depending on the material selected and on the general way in which oral health is managed. Longevity is a detail we are happy to discuss during your consultation for crown treatment.