What are Dental Crowns?
A dental crown is like a tooth cap that fits over a damaged tooth. It gives back the tooth’s functionality, appearance, and strength. Hence, dental crowns have become a preferred solution to protect teeth from decay.
When Would I Need a Dental Crown?
Besides tooth decay, a dental crown may be recommended by your dentist in the following cases:
- A cracked tooth, to hold the tooth together.
- Cover up a tooth that has a large filling to give it support.
- To cover teeth that may be severely discolored or misshaped.
- A cavity too large to be contained with filling.
- Provide support to a dental implant or to cover it.
- Provide support to a dental bridge to hold it in place.
- Root canal, to protect the treated tooth.
What Materials Are Dental Crowns Available in?
There are different types of crown materials you can get. Your dentist will help you pick the most suitable one for your condition but you should be aware of the materials out there:
- Metal: There are numerous metals used in dental crowns including nickel, gold, chromium, or palladium. Metal crowns are durable and are not easily chipped. The only drawback is that the color of the metal is not the color of your natural teeth.
- Porcelain and metal: Dental crowns made of porcelain fused to metal appear more natural. The porcelain is used as the outer layer of the crown so it appears like your natural tooth. There are instances when the metal may slightly show through the porcelain. This blend of the material may look natural but it is less durable as porcelain can chip more easily when compared to metal.
- All-resin: This material is one of the more affordable dental crown options but is also not as strong as the others. All-resin can breakdown over time due to the lack of strength in the material.
- Porcelain or ceramic: Both all-porcelain or all-ceramic give the most natural look in comparison to the rest of your teeth. These are the best options for anyone that may be allergic to metal. They are not as strong as metal or porcelain and metal combinations.
The Process of Getting a Dental Crown
Typically, a dental crown is fitted throughout two dental visits. The first visit consists of examining the tooth. Your dentist will take an X-ray of your tooth to determine if there is an infection and how severe it is. To fit the crown on top, the tooth or series of teeth receiving the crown will be filed down from the top and sides. Metal crowns are thinner so don’t need the tooth to be filed too much whereas other types of crowns need more room. There may also be filling applied before the crown is placed in case the tooth is too damaged. Once the tooth is filed down, an impression of it is made along with the teeth on either side of the tooth that will be crowned. This is to ensure that the crown fits perfectly. With the impressions done, it takes about two to three weeks for the crown to be made. However, your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown until the actual one are fitted.
Potential Issues That May Arise with Dental Crowns
It is important that individuals with dental crowns take care of them. Issues can certainly arise the longer you have the crown. Some of those include:
- Extra sensitivity: The tooth on which the crown is placed will be more sensitive for a while after the procedure. As the anesthesia wears off, the tooth will likely be more sensitive to hot and cold food items. You want to take precautions such as using toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth and consume food and drinks that aren’t too hot or cold.
- Loosening of the crown: Crowns are cemented onto the tooth so that they stay intact. However, at times, the cement may wash out which makes it loose. Bacteria can then seep through and start to attach to the tooth that remains. You must notify your dentist as soon as you notice the crown loosening up.
- Chipping of the crown: Porcelain, ceramic, and all-resin crowns aren’t as durable as metal crowns. Over time due to the pressure of use, the crown may start to chip. Smaller chips can be repaired but if the chip is big, your dentist will recommend you have it replaced.
- Allergic reaction: Dentists will ask you if you have any known allergy to metal or porcelain before creating the crown. However, there are rare cases of an allergic reaction from a crown for individuals that weren’t aware that they have an allergy to the materials that make up the crown.
How Durable Are Dental Crowns?
The lifetime of a dental crown depends on the “wear and tear” they go through and the material it is made out of. Generally, a crown can last anywhere from 5 years up to 15. Other factors also play a role in the longevity of the crown such as your oral hygiene regimen and your mouth-related habits such as clenching teeth, biting fingernails, and chewing ice. There aren’t any specific measures you need to take to ensure the longevity of a crown. But you do need to maintain a good oral regimen so that the tooth under the crown remains healthy and free of bacteria. This means brushing twice and flossing daily.
The Cost of Dental Crowns
The cost of dental crowns varies on your location and the material used for the crown. For example, gold crowns are less expensive than full-porcelain crowns. Some dental insurance plans may cover a part of the dental crown’s cost. Be sure to consult the clinic beforehand to see if your plan covers the cost.
Finding a Dental Crown Specialist Near You
Your oral health is the gateway to your general health, so if you’re in need of a dental crown, VIPcare Dental is here to help you. We accept almost all major insurances including Medicare. You can visit our Locations page to find a clinic near you.