Dental crowns are just one of the many treatments general dentists provide and can be a lifesaver when you are dealing a severely damaged tooth that causes excruciating pain. It is one of the most commonly used dental prosthetics, and it serves multiple purposes: protecting a tooth, strengthening it and improving its appearance.
Also known as a cap, a dental crown is a tooth-shaped cover that goes over the part of a tooth that is visible above the gumline. It is typically attached to the damaged tooth with dental cement.
When is a crown needed?
Dental crowns are the most popular dental prosthetic because they are used to address a wide range of oral issues. Some of these include:
The different types of crowns
Dental crowns can be made from a wide range of materials. The type of crown a family dentist recommends for a patient often depends on the tooth being treated. Generally speaking, ceramic and porcelain crowns are the closest to real teeth, while metallic crowns are the more durable option.
Let us take a closer look at the different types of crowns.
1. Stainless steel
Stainless steel crowns are often used to temporarily protect permanent teeth. They are removed and replaced when a permanent crown has been fabricated for the patient.
Stainless steel crowns can also be used to protect a child's primary teeth. It is a great way to protect baby teeth that have already been damaged by tooth decay, which is important, since these teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent ones.
When the primary tooth eventually gets pushed out by the permanent replacement, the crown falls out with it. Stainless steel crowns are preferred for children since they can be installed during a single visit to the dentist and are the least expensive option.
2. Metal alloys
Alloys that have a high amount of gold, base metals or platinum are also used to make crowns. One of the main benefits of these alloys is the fact they can withstand lots of pressure and stress. These types of crowns are the most durable and can last up to 25 years with good oral hygiene. The main drawback of metallic crowns is their unnatural appearance. That makes them a good option for out-of-sight molars. They can also be used for front teeth if you are fond of metallic grills.
3. Porcelain or ceramic
Crowns that are made purely out of porcelain or ceramics are the closest thing to real teeth. Once installed, it is virtually impossible for anyone to detect the wearer has a cap. Another great benefit of these types of crowns is the fact it is a great option for patients who react negatively to metallic alternatives.
The main drawback of these crowns is that they are more prone to chipping or breaking. That makes them a great option for front teeth that do not have to deal with lots of stress and pressure when chewing.
4. Porcelain fused to metal crowns
Crowns made from porcelain fused to metal give patients the best of two worlds. They look like natural teeth, but the metallic component makes them more durable. These types of crowns can be used to protect teeth like the canines that carry more load than the incisors, but not as much as the molars. The major drawbacks of this type of crown are the fact it is more likely to wear down the opposing tooth and that the porcelain part of the tooth is susceptible to chipping.
5. Composite resin crowns
Crowns can also be made from composite resins, and these are often the most affordable type of permanent crowns. Composite resin crowns can be matched to the color of the patient's real teeth, but they are more susceptible to staining and are not as durable as crowns that contain metals.
The difference between temporary and permanent crowns
Temporary crowns are used to protect a patient's tooth while the permanent one is being made. They are typically made out of stainless steel or resins. Permanent crowns can be made from a wider range of materials, but this typically takes a couple of weeks.
That is slowly changing thanks to CEREC technology. Some family dentists are now able to make permanent crowns in their clinics, making it possible to get same-day crowns.
What to expect when getting a dental crown
Getting a dental crown is a simple process. It often takes two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the dentist will examine the tooth and prepare it for the prosthetic. X-rays may be taken to determine how damaged the tooth is, and if there is a significant amount of tooth decay, a root canal may be performed.
To prepare the tooth for the crown, the dentist will use an anesthetic to numb the tooth and the soft tissue around it. The tooth is then filed down to ensure the crown fits tightly.
The dentist will take an impression of the tooth afterward that is used to make the prosthetic. The dentist will install a temporary crown to protect the tooth while the permanent crown is being made in a lab.
During the second appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and install the permanent one.
Dealing with a damaged tooth that requires a crown? Schedule an appointment with one of our dentists today!
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