Taking good care of our teeth is important to maintain good oral health. However, despite our best efforts, there may be times when our teeth need a little extra help to stay healthy. This is where restorative dentistry comes in.
Restorative dentistry has become a cornerstone of modern dentistry, with dental crowns being one of the most popular and effective treatments. Let’s talk about dental crowns, what they are, and how they help improve oral health.
What are Dental Crowns?
A dental crown or a dental cap, is a customized covering that is placed over a damaged or decayed tooth. It is designed to encase the visible part of the tooth above the gumline and restore the tooth’s shape, size, strength, and appearance while improving its overall functionality.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are several types of dental crowns available, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits. The type of crown recommended for you will depend on various factors, including the location of the tooth, the amount of natural tooth structure remaining, your personal preferences, and your budget.
Porcelain crowns are popular due to their ability to closely mimic the appearance of natural teeth. They are made from a ceramic material that is color-matched to your existing teeth, providing a seamless and natural-looking smile.
Porcelain crowns are an excellent choice for front teeth or other visible areas of the mouth.
Metal crowns are typically made from alloys such as gold, nickel-chromium, etc. These crowns are known for their durability and strength, making them an ideal option for molars or teeth that endure significant biting forces.
While metal crowns offer excellent longevity, their metallic color may make them less desirable for visible areas of the mouth.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) Crowns
PFM crowns combine the strength of a metal substructure with the aesthetic appeal of porcelain. These crowns have a metal base on which a layer of porcelain is fused, providing both durability and natural-looking results.
PFM crowns are a versatile option suitable for both front and back teeth, offering a balance between strength and aesthetics.
All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain Crowns
All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns are made entirely from ceramic materials, without any metal substructure. These crowns are highly aesthetic and can be an excellent choice for patients with metal sensitivities.
All-ceramic crowns are often used for front teeth or areas where aesthetics are a primary concern.
All-resin crowns, also known as all-composite crowns, are dental crowns made entirely from a tooth-colored resin material. These crowns are typically used for restoring front teeth and can provide a natural-looking appearance.
Same-Day Dental Crowns
Same-day dental crowns are a convenient and time-saving option for getting a dental crown. Unlike traditional crowns that require multiple visits, same-day crowns can be designed, fabricated, and placed in a single appointment.
When Are Dental Crowns Needed?
Dental crowns may be needed in various situations to restore and protect the integrity of a tooth. Here are some common scenarios when dental crowns are necessary:
- After a Root Canal Procedure: Crowns are often placed after a root canal procedure to protect the weakened and brittle tooth. The crown helps maintain the structural integrity of the tooth.
- For Badly Decayed Teeth: Dental crowns may be recommended for teeth with extensive decay that cannot be adequately restored with a filling. The crown covers and protects the damaged tooth, restoring its functionality.
- To Replace Large Worn-Out/Damaged Fillings: When a filling becomes worn out, cracked, or damaged over time, a dental crown may be used to replace it. The crown provides a durable and long-lasting restoration.
- Cracked, Chipped, or Broken Teeth: Dental crowns can be used to restore cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. The crown covers the damaged portion of the tooth, preventing further damage and restoring its appearance and function.
- Enamel Deterioration: In cases where the enamel of a tooth has deteriorated significantly, a dental crown can be placed to protect the underlying tooth structure and improve its strength.
- After Dental Implant Placement: Dental crowns are commonly used as the visible and functional part of a dental implant. They are placed on top of the implant post to resemble a natural tooth.
- To Improve Tooth Appearance: Crowns can be used for cosmetic purposes to enhance the appearance of teeth with discoloration, irregular shape, or size discrepancies.
What Happens During a Dental Crown Procedure?
During a dental crown procedure, several steps are involved to ensure a successful restoration. The process typically takes place over two visits to the dentist.
In the initial visit, the dentist will begin by preparing the tooth that requires the crown. This involves removing some natural enamel to create enough space for the crown. In some cases, filling material may be used to build up certain areas of the tooth, providing a strong foundation for the crown.
Next, dental impressions of the prepared tooth and surrounding teeth are taken. This can be done using a putty-like material or a handheld scanner. The impressions serve as a mold and provide the necessary information for the dental lab to create a custom crown that fits precisely.
While the permanent crown is being prepared at the dental lab, a temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth to protect it. This temporary crown is usually made from a temporary material and is designed to be worn until the permanent crown is ready.
During the second visit, the temporary crown is removed, and the fit, shape, and color of the new crown are checked. The dentist ensures the crown blends seamlessly with the surrounding teeth and fits properly in the mouth.
Once the fit is confirmed, the dentist uses a strong dental cement to bond the permanent crown to the tooth. The crown is carefully positioned and secured in place, ensuring a stable and long-lasting restoration.
After the Procedure
After the dental crown procedure, adjusting and feeling comfortable with the new crown may take some time. It is common to initially experience some sensitivity, especially to hot or cold temperatures. However, this sensitivity should subside as the mouth adjusts to the crown.
Practicing good oral hygiene is important to care for a dental crown and maintain its longevity. This includes brushing the teeth at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing between the teeth daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash.
It is also advisable to avoid extremely hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can potentially damage the crown.
Dental Crowns in Eugene, OR
At 360 Dental, our dentist, Dr. Ari Binder, performs a comprehensive assessment of your dental health and determines whether dental crowns are suitable for you. If you are a candidate for dental crowns, he can recommend the best type of dental crowns for your unique needs.
If you want to schedule a consultation with our family dentist, contact our friendly staff today at (541) 689-1645 or use our easy-to-use online appointment request form.