What You Need to Know About Dental Crowns
Over the years, the advancement of technology and improvement of treatment practices has led to changes in dental crowns, including a wider range of choices in the material from which your crown is made. If you’re looking into getting a crown and find yourself confused or overwhelmed by all the information out there, you’re in the right place. We’ve created the complete guide to dental crowns.
What are crowns used to treat?
Dental crowns can treat a wide range of dental problems. They’re often used to protect weak teeth or teeth that have undergone root canals, they can support a tooth with a large filling, restore severely broken teeth, hold dental bridges in place, and restore beauty and function when placed on top of dental implants. They can also be used for cosmetic treatments, from covering a severely crooked or stained tooth to restoring a worn-down tooth. Crowns are also sometimes used on baby teeth to protect teeth that are at risk of decay or have already been damaged by decay.
What are crowns made of?
When it comes to materials used in crowns, there are plenty of options. Metal crowns can be made with base-metal alloys or with a high content of gold or platinum. They’re incredibly durable, as they’re resistant to chipping and breaking, and are probably the longest-lasting type of crown. Unfortunately, they’re incredibly visible, standing out amongst your natural teeth. This makes them best for molars towards the back of your mouth, but if you’re self-conscious about others catching a glimpse of metal in your mouth, you’ll probably be happier with a material that looks more natural.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are metal crowns covered in a layer of porcelain, which enables them to closely match the appearance of your natural teeth. The metal provides extra strength to the crown, but it does come with some downsides: after a short period of time, the metal becomes visible as a dark line at your gum line. The porcelain layer is also prone to chipping off, and the crown might wear on the tooth above it more than other types of crowns do.
Resin crowns are made of a tooth-colored resin, making them much less expensive than other types of crowns, but this comes at a cost. The resin material is more likely to crack, break, and wear down over time, making them the shortest-lived type of crown.
Porcelain crowns are the most natural-looking crowns out there, able to match the color and gloss of your natural teeth. They don’t compromise on practicality for their good looks, as porcelain crowns are strong enough to be placed on front or back teeth. If you care about durability but would like your crown to look completely natural, or if you have a metal allergy, porcelain crowns are likely your best option.
What’s the difference between a temporary and a permanent crown?
Temporary crowns are made of less expensive and less durable materials and are most often used to cap your tooth while you wait for your permanent crown to arrive. In this case, temporary crowns are usually made of an acrylic material. Temporary crowns made of stainless steel are sometimes used to protect baby teeth that have been damaged by or are prone to decay. To put it simply, temporary crowns aren’t meant to last, while permanent crowns are.
What is the procedure like?
Thanks to modern technology, the procedure you undergo to receive your crown is painless. In most cases, getting a crown will take two or three visits to your dentist depending on the type of crown you need.
With tooth-colored resin crowns, we offer same day crowns. That means you’ll have your crown in no time.
Porcelain crowns are different, though, and require more than one visit. During the first visit, your dentist will numb your tooth. Next, your dentist will remove any decay and shave your tooth down so the crown will fit over your tooth like a cap. Then, your dental team will take molds of your tooth, which will be used to create both your temporary and your permanent crown. Once your tooth is the right size, your dentist will place your temporary crown, check your bite, and make the necessary adjustments to the crown so that it’s as comfortable as possible. You may experience some soreness after the procedure, but this can be managed easily with over-the-counter pain medication.
After a few weeks, when your permanent porcelain crown has arrived, you’ll return to our office for your second appointment. Your dentist will numb the tooth again, remove the temporary crown, and place the permanent one. Once again, your dentist will check your bite. If the crown causes discomfort in the following days, you may need a third appointment to make a few more adjustments.
How do I care for my crown?
Crowns don’t require specialized care, but they can’t protect your tooth from everything. Although the crown is covering your natural tooth, gum disease can still cause you to lose it if you’re not careful. Thankfully, these issues are easy to prevent, so practicing great oral hygiene is all you need to do to ensure that your crown lasts a long time and continues to protect your tooth. This means that you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, use mouthwash and floss at least once daily, and visit your dentist for regular preventative cleanings.
How long will my crown last?
The life of your crown depends upon how well you care for it and what material it’s made from. On average, a well-cared-for crown can last up to 15 years.
How much do crowns cost?
This depends upon what material you choose. Most dental insurance companies will pay for part of your crown, but how much they cover will depend upon your insurer and your individual plan. If you’re considering getting a crown, however, our team can speak with you about estimated costs and how much your insurance is likely to cover.
Dental crowns are a great way to protect and restore your smile. Although the wealth of options can seem overwhelming at first, the choices help you to find a crown that satisfies practical needs like durability and a limited budget without sacrificing appearance.