Dental crowns are also referred to as dental caps. These caps are fitted over teeth that are either worn or damaged. Aside from restoring dental damage to make your teeth look healthy and nice these caps are also used for cosmetic purposes to restore the normal shade of your tooth when it has been discolored. More often, your dentist fits you with a temporary crown in order to protect your tooth from incurring further damaged while the permanent cap is still on the process of being made. Permanent crowns can last up to five to fifteen years when properly cared for but this however depends on the type of material it is made of as well as the type of maintenance care it receives.
Who are suitable candidates for dental crowns?
Again, as mentioned earlier dental crowns serve a lot of purposes including cosmetic and restorative among others. Dental crowns are a vital aspect of providing a robust support to chipped, brittle or weakened teeth. When dental problems are left untreated they can lead to more complicated and serious problems such as headaches, bite anomalies and jaw pain. Without proper dental treatment these complications can advance it is going to cause further damage to your teeth. The following are reasons why your dentist may require you to have dental crowns installed.
- To support filled teeth
- To protect weakened and brittle teeth
- To anchor bridgework
- To cover a dental implant
- To rebuild a tooth after a root canal
- To create a healthy and proper bite
- To restore discolored and chipped teeth
Dental crowns come in a variety of forms and are categorized into three types, the full metal crowns; the porcelain fused with metal crowns and pure porcelain crowns. It is your dentist’s job to evaluate your dental health and discuss these options with you. However, each type of crown has its own fair share of advantages. The following are descriptions of the three types of crowns as well as their advantages.
1 The All-Metal Crowns Just in case you don’t know, metal crowns are none-reactive and are remarkably durable. These are the standout features that make all-metal crowns excellent dental crowns. The most common metal used in all-metal crowns are gold alloys. However, some dentists prefer to work with palladium alloys and platinum, both of which carry a silvery shade. This type of dental crown provides exceptional durability. The downside though is because it doesn’t have a natural hue that are similar to real teeth, all-metal crowns are used for molars where they aren’t easily noticed.
2 Porcelain and Metal Crowns If you want your crown to resemble that of a real tooth you’re going to have to go with the PFM or porcelain fused metal crown. This type of dental crown masks the metallic surface of the crown through a layer of ceramic that shares the same color as natural tooth enamel. However, because it has a metallic core, the crowns show their original structure in bright light and it lacks the luminousness found in natural teeth. But despite these, the texture and the hue of porcelain fused metal crown are preferable to cap both front and back teeth.
3 All-Porcelain Crowns Out of all the dental crowns available the all-porcelain crown has the most natural effect. It almost looks exactly the same as natural teeth you would probably mistake it as one. Because of advancements in ceramics the all-porcelain crowns share the same durability and robustness as those of all metal and porcelain fused metal crowns. Through novel CAM and CAD techniques, dentists can now create their own crowns within minutes. However, the procedure comes with a hefty price tag. As a matter of fact, porcelain crowns that are made in this manner share somewhat similar charges as natural teeth.
How do you apply dental crowns?
Prior to the procedure your dentist will provide you with a local anesthesia to numb the area. This is done to prepare your teeth for the crown. You will also be asked to bite on a sheet of carbon paper so your dentist can see how your teeth meet. This is to make sure that the crown that is about to be installed will not get in the way of your bite. After this, your tooth will be fitted with a dental dam to isolate that area with the rest of your mouth and to keep that area dry. Using a high-speed and high-power drill, your dentists will reshape and remold the teeth or the tooth that requires crowns installation. Often the process of remolding a tooth would necessitate a minor filling or your dentist will require a removal of some parts of your tooth to leave an anchor for your crown. How much of your natural tooth will be removed will vary depending on the type of crown you are going to get and for the reason behind your restoration.
After your tooth has been shaped in preparation for the crown your dentist will ask you for another bite impression. This step is very important to make the dental cap fit the remaining tooth concisely. If you are availing of the expensive same-day porcelain crowns all you have to do is to wait for around twenty minutes, it’s that fast! It is important to note that all metal and porcelain fused metal crowns require more time to prepare compared to porcelain crowns. Normally, you will be fitted with a transient acrylic crown and your dentist will ask you to return to his clinic after a few weeks in order to get your permanent crown. Your dentist will apply a layer of cement to the crown to keep it in place.
If you just got yourself temporary crowns you should ask your dentist to teach you how to care for your temporary crowns while waiting for your permanent crowns to be finished. The most common precautions that your dentist will likely share with you when caring for temporary crowns are the following:
- When eating chew on the others side of your mouth that doesn’t have a crown. So if your temporary crown is fitted on the left side of your mouth, chew on the right.
- Avoid toffee, caramel and other sticky foods that could undo your dental work.
- When flossing, make sure that you just slide the floss between the teeth that have crowns instead of lifting the floss off.
How do you care for dental crowns?
For those who have just had their tooth fitted with crowns you’ll notice that the crowns feel, look and behave like real teeth. Just like your natural teeth, you should also care for your crowns. Ideally, your dentist will recommend a brushing and flossing routine. You should follow these routines and continue with it even after the crowns are installed. You’ll also notice that crowns made of metal are more sensitive to cold and heat but you will eventually adapt to it quickly. If and when you experience any of the following after you got your crowns you should call your dentist.
- Pain felt in the jaw or head.
- Loosening of the crown.
- Pain and difficulty in chewing.
- Rough spots that could signify the porcelain crown was chipped.