With the increasing problems of tooth decay, dental care and replacement techniques have attracted the attention of many around the world. Sometimes you have a cavity and it is easily fixed with a filling. When a cavity is too large, and damages too much of the tooth, a crown is needed. The dentist has to remove a great deal of a damaged tooth in order to get rid of the decay, and a crown is needed to restore the appearance of the tooth, as well as making the tooth strong.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is an artificial restoration that fits over the remaining part of a prepared tooth, making it strong and giving it the shape of a natural tooth. A crown is sometimes also known as a cap. Crowns are an ideal way to restore teeth that have been broken, or have been weakened by decay or a very large filling.
Benefits of dental crowns
The crowns can restore the natural and youthful look to a patient’s smile. Apart from aesthetics, dental crowns restore functionality to a mouth as well. Patients who are unable to chew with their damaged teeth can do so comfortably because crowns are protecting those teeth. The restoration of one’s chewing ability is a very attractive benefit for most people. Another appealing benefit of dental crowns is that they help to save natural teeth from extractions.
Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials.
Here are some of the most popular options:
Porcelain bonded to precious or non-precious metal: this is what most crowns are made from. A precious or non-precious metal base is made and then porcelain is applied in layers over it. The metal that is affixed to the tooth is very resilient, and the porcelain at top can match the surrounding teeth. One downside is that, like ceramic or porcelain crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal can wear down the surrounding teeth, and the porcelain can wear down, showing the metal underneath. The upside is that this type of crown is equally good for back and front teeth.
Porcelain crowns: these crowns are made entirely out of porcelain and are not as strong as bonded crowns, but they can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth.
All-ceramic crowns: these crowns are the closest to natural teeth in color Also, some people have metal allergies, and those people need to have all-porcelain or all-ceramic crowns because this modern material is metal free. However, these types of crowns have the unfortunate side effect of wearing down the surrounding teeth, and they aren’t as strong. Because of their color, they are the most suitable for front crowns. It can give the strength of a bonded crown and the appearance of a porcelain crown.
Glass: these crowns look very natural and are used on both front and back teeth.
Gold alloy crowns: gold is one of the oldest filling materials. Today it is used with other metals to increase its strength, which makes it a very hard-wearing restoration. These crowns are silver or gold in color, however, so they are best used on back teeth, and they can only be used when tooth damage is minimal.
Resin is another material used to create crowns. They are the least expensive option, but there is a greater chance that the crown will need to be replaced frequently. Resin tends to break easily, and it wears down quickly.
Crown Preparation and Fitting
The treatment requires two sittings with your dentist. First is for examination, impression and tooth preparation and second for placement of the crown. At the first visit, you will need to undergo a thorough diagnosis, so that your dentist can understand your exact condition. Additionally, you’ll need to disclose your medical history and significant medical problems, such as diabetes or heart disease, if you have any.
Once you’re considered for the treatment, you may have to undergo a root canal if your tooth has severely decayed. You’ll be given anesthesia to numb your tooth, gum, and the surrounding area. The tooth will be filed down to make appropriate space for the crown. After that measurement is taken and sent to the laboratory for preparing customized dental crowns.
The dentist will prepare the tooth so it is the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner core. The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression (mold) of the prepared tooth, one of the other jaw, and possibly another to mark the way you bite together. The impressions will then be given to the dental technician, along with details of the shade to use and other information needed for the crown to be made.
When you and your dentist are happy with the fit and appearance of the new crown it will be fixed in place with special dental cement or adhesive. The cement forms a seal to hold the crown in place. You will be anesthetized before putting the dental crown.