Dental crowns are caps that cover a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, and appearance to near normal.
Dental crowns can be made from ceramic, metal, or a combination of the two. The crown is permanently cemented onto the tooth after
- taking an impression of your teeth, and then
- suitably shaping the dental crown.
Steps In A Dental Crown Procedure
The dental crown procedure is a standard treatment used to repair damaged teeth.
It is a multi-step process that may require more than one visit to the dentist.
Here is what you can expect during the dental crown procedure:
- The dentist will examine your mouth to determine if any of your teeth need dental crowns.
- Your dentist will also make sure the shade of the ceramic or other material of the dental crowns will match that of your surrounding teeth.
Preparing the Tooth:
- The dentist has to first prepare your tooth to receive a dental crown.
- Before starting on the preparation, your dentist will inject a local anesthetic. This is to numb your gums and prevent pain while the sensitive tooth is being manipulated.
- Your dentist may place a build-up or perform a root canal treatment if there’s tooth decay or an injury to the tooth’s pulp.
- Regardless of the type of work, the dentist will try to preserve as much of your tooth as possible, a practice called ‘conservative dentistry’.
Impressions and Crown Fabrication:
- Once your tooth is adequately prepared, your dentist may use a thin cord or another tool to gently pull your gum tissue back from the tooth.
- Your dentist will then make an impression of your tooth using a special silicone-based putty.
- Some dental offices offer digital dental impressions, which can be taken without impression putty.
- The mold is then sent to a lab, where a physical or virtual working model of your crown will be made based on your impression.
- That model will then be used to fabricate the final crown from the material you’ve decided upon (porcelain, metal, or a combination).
While waiting for your permanent crown to come back from the lab, your dentist will make a temporary crown.
This will appear similar to the final version, but is nowhere as close as being strong and sturdy. So during this phase, you must take extra care to avoid damage to any temporary dental crowns.
- At your next appointment, your dentist will remove your temporary crown and replace it with your new permanent one.
- Once your new crown has a proper fit, your dentist will attach it to your tooth using a strong dental cement meant to last for years. You’ll have to wait for a while until the cement sets and hardens, affixing your dental crowns firmly.
- After the dental crown procedure, your dentist will provide instructions on how to care for your crown.
- Avoid using too much pressure when brushing. Floss regularly but gently. Don’t eat hard and sticky foods like nuts or popcorn. Try to chew on the other side of the mouth.
- Use an over-the-counter topical gel or a pain reliever if needed.
- Visit your dentist every six months for routine cleanings and checkups.
Benefits and Risks of Dental Crowns:
Dental crowns provide several benefits. They will:
- restore normal tooth shape and function,
- improve aesthetics,
- protect the underlying tooth from infection or further damage, and
- allow for natural underlying tooth structure to be retained.
Crowns also have potential complications, especially if they don’t fit properly.
Potential problems include:
- heightened sensitivity,
- wear and tear, or damage to the opposing teeth over time,
- chipping or breaking,
- dental crowns loosening or falling out,
- allergic reactions,
- tooth decay, or
- gum disease surrounding the crown.
- Most crowns can last for fifteen years or more, but some may not last more than a few years, depending on the material, your diet, your oral health, and the location of the crown.
Who Needs Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are recommended for a variety of reasons, that include:
- restoring a damaged tooth,
- covering a tooth with a large filling,
- protecting a tooth after root canal therapy, and
- covering the abutment of a dental implant.
A crown is necessary when the tooth is vulnerable to further damage or infection.
If daily activities are painful and you are unable to function normally, or if this affects your bite, or detracts from your smile, then dental crowns might solve the problem once and for all.
How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?
The cost of a crown can vary depending on the material and your insurance.
Prices range from $500 to over $2,500 for a dental crown procedure. Insurance often covers a part of the cost. But proceed with caution, because if the dental crown is considered cosmetic, insurance may not cover the procedure at all.
Permanent crowns are typically made of ceramic or porcelain, metals, metal-ceramic or PFM, or composite resin.
Most dentists prefer ceramics for front teeth because they mimic natural tooth color, and newer, more durable ceramics are continually developed.
Zirconia is the strongest ceramic and is becoming more popular for back teeth, especially for people who grind their teeth.
Temporary crowns are made from composite resin, acrylic, or another plastic material and are meant to last only a few days or weeks.
If your dentist uses a conventional dental laboratory to make your crown, they will fit your tooth with a temporary crown while the final one is being made. The temporary crown is designed to protect the tooth and maintain its shape and function until the permanent crown is ready.
Once the permanent crown is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and replace it with the permanent one. The dentist will check to ensure the crown fits correctly and is comfortable to bite down on. If any adjustments are needed, they will make them before cementing the crown permanently onto the tooth.
How To Care For Your Dental Crowns?
It’s important to take care of your dental crown just like you would take care of your natural teeth.
This means that you should aim to
- brush twice a day,
- floss regularly, and
- visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
Avoid biting down on hard foods or objects that could damage the crown.
Also, avoid using your teeth as tools to open packages or bottles.
Dental Crowns : A Summary
Dental crowns are a popular restorative dental treatment that can restore a damaged tooth’s shape, size, and appearance.
They are made from various materials, including ceramics, metals, and composite resin.
The cost of dental crowns can vary depending on the material and insurance coverage.
It’s important to take good care of your crown to ensure it lasts as long as possible. That way you’ll ensure good oral hygiene and a bright, sparkling smile for a long time to come!
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