Dental Crowns

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped artificial cover that is placed over the remaining part of a prepared tooth.The crown is sometimes referred to also as a Cap.The Crown functions as a permanent restoration of the shape and size, strength,of the natural tooth and sometimes may also improves its appearance.Crown is fixed permanently onto existing teeth and can be removed only by the dental professional.

When is a Crown necessary?

Crown is an ideal solution

  • To protect a broken tooth from further damage.
  • To protect a weak tooth due to caries or a large filling from fracture
  • To improve the appearance of the tooth due to change of the color of the filling or staining of the tooth.
  • To protect whatever of the remaining tooth left when there is a filling in the root canal.
  • To secure a bridge or denture firmly in position
  • To act as the cap for a dental implant
  • To aesthetically cover a tooth which is not shaped properly.

What is the purpose of a Crown?

The main purpose of the crown is to protect or cap a damaged tooth. Besides offering strength to largely decayed and root canal treated teeth, a crown can also offer an improvement in its appearance, size,shape or alignment.A crown can also be placed over a dental implant to provide a shape and structure that resembles a natural tooth in function like chewing, biting etc.

What is a Crown made of?

  • Porcelain crown is the most often used one on the front or anterior teeth for their natural looking appeal though not as strong as porcelain bonded to metal crown.
  • All Ceramic crowns have proven to be best quality,durable,bio compatible and esthetic prosthodontic restoration.They are metal free alternatives suitable for the front and lateral parts of the mouth.The color of the crown can be matched to the shade of your natural teeth.
  • Dental crown can also be fabricated of gold and alloys of metal or acrylic.Gold and metal alloys have higher strengths than porcelain and may be recommended for the posterior or back teeth that need to resist extreme biting forces.Esthetically ,crowns made of gold and metal alloys do not match the natural teeth in color.They can be silver or gold colored.
  • Porcelain bonded to metal is most often preferred dental crown, as it combines strength and esthetics.In such a crown,porcelain is applied in several layers over a metal base.
  • Stainless steel crown is most often used in primary or baby teeth of children when there is decay.Stainless crowns are useful in children as they require less effort to fit and cement and also a cost effective option for primary tooth that is going to be shed anyway.

What is the process involved and how long does it take in getting a dental crown?

At Least two visits are essential for the treatment with a Crown.In the first visit,tooth preparation, taking an impression , noting the shade of the crown and temporary crown placement is done. In a span of 1-2 weeks, the second and final visit is scheduled to fix the permanent crown.The dentist removes an outer layer of the tooth similar to the thickness of the intended crown..Once tooth preparation is completed,impressions of the prepared tooth, the opposite jaw and the occlusal bite are taken by the dentist.Based on this impression,with instructions from the dentist about the material and color of his/her to be used the dental lab then fabricates the crown.A temporary crown is given to protect the prepared tooth while the permanent crown is being fabricated by the lab. When the permanent crown is ready, the temporary crown is removed.After confirmation by the dentist and you about the fit and appearance the new crown is fixed over your prepared tooth or teeth with a dental cement or adhesive.

Does the process of Crown preparation hurt?

Crown preparation is unlikely to hurt as a local anaesthetic for numbing your teeth will be given and you will not feel anything.But if the tooth has no nerve involvement,as in the case of a post crown local anaesthesia may not even be necessary.

How long does a Crown last?

With impeccable dental hygiene routine,a crown can really last a long time perhaps around 5 to 15 years. It is important to keep your gums and teeth healthy by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see your dentist and hygienist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.In few cases, a crown may become loose or come out for various reasons.Crown may become loose because the cement may give away or if the tooth under the crown gets decayed .The cement holds the crown snugly over the tooth.

Are there alternatives available for a crown?

Veneer is another option for discolored or stained teeth to improve the appearance. Veneer is a thin layer of material fixed onto the front surface of a tooth.

Rebuilding the tooth structure with filling materials instead of placing a crown can be an alternative solution for a chipped tooth.

What is a post crown?

A post crown is a dental restoration used when there is insufficient natural tooth material is left to place the usual crown.Post and crown is done in root filled teeth where a post is placed into the root of the tooth which is then used to place a crown.The post gives the crown anchoring to stay securely to the remaining root material.The post crown is always offered after root canal treatment.

A prefabricated stainless steel post may be used which the dentist can fit directly into the root canal.But for those desirous of a better fit to the shape of the root canal, a customised post can be fabricated by a dental technician.The post is placed into the root canal and cemented in position, ready for the crown to be attached.

Are alternatives to post crowns available ?

Yes, your dentist can build a tooth with a filling material called core in tooth with partially intact root where root canal treatment is already done.The core is sometimes incorporated into the custom made post and at other times, it is built up on top of the post.Core is made of filling materials like composite or amalgam.The core is prepared exactly like the natural tooth in shape and size and the impressions are taken for the crown.A crown needs a solid core if it has to last and resist all the forces that will be placed on it for several years.The two most common materials used in a post, are a carbon fibre and stainless steel.

Will the crown on my tooth be noticeable to others?

In the hands of an experienced dentist, the newly prepared crown will be made to match the existing natural teeth as closely as possible. The shade of the surrounding teeth will be noted during the initial tooth preparation and impression taking session, and the crown matched to make sure that the colour looks natural and blends well. It will hardly be noticeable by others.

How does the crown feel?

A fabricated crown does not feel like the natural tooth it covers as there may be slight variations in the shape between it and the natural tooth.This may be the reason that the crown gets noticed to be different in the initial days.But soon you get accustomed to it and it should feel normal and you may not notice it at all. Sometimes you may experience slight discomfort that doesn't go away after a few days.Schedule an appointment with the dentist.The crown may need slight adjustment by the dentist till your bite feels comfortable and the discomfort disappears completely.

What will a crown cost?

Cost of the crown varies depending on the type of crown and the kind of material used for it. Your dentist can give you an estimate based on the treatment plan.

How do I care for my crown?

Good dental hygiene habits for sound oral health like brushing twice daily and flossing is very important for maintaining the crown as is practiced for the natural tooth.Decay does not affect a crown but the decay can start slowly at the edge of the crown meeting the natural tooth. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly between the teeth.To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.

If you are interested in knowing more about dental crowns schedule an appointment at Smiline dental hospital or call us now!

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