A dental crown is recommended by your dentist, if your tooth is weak and needs to be reinforced or you have a discolored tooth or you need a crown for improving your appearance. In order to place a crown, your tooth needs to undergo certain treatment procedures.
If you have been recommended a crown or a bridge work and have questions regarding the treatment, the information here would help you understand about the treatment and look forward to it without any trepidation.
About Your Teeth
To understand the dental crowns, you need to know about the parts of a tooth first. The tooth is divided anatomically into two fundamental parts namely,
The crown – This is the portion of your tooth, present above gum line in the lower jaw and below gum line in upper jaw, which you can see in your mouth.
The Root – This is the part that is present below the gum line and covered by bone and gums.
The dental crown is the restoration that is cemented to the crown part of the tooth either partially or totally.
What situations indicate a crown placement?
Several situations occur, when a tooth requires restoration with dental crown. Some of the common conditions that indicate dental crown restoration include
If a tooth has a huge filling that covers more than half of the tooth structure, it is susceptible to fracture and needs a crown to protect the tooth structure. In some cases, a large sized filling which has been placed a long time back will require replacement with crown, if there are signs of cracks and stress in the margins of the filling.
After root canal treatment a tooth is left hollowed out, making it prone to fracture. This is the reason for dentists recommending a crown restoration immediately after root canal treatment.
Minute fractures inside a tooth trigger pain, when the tooth is chewed in a particular way. The stress placed on the tooth while chewing causes splitting pain. A crown is recommended in such a situation as it will hold the tooth and disperse the stress throughout the entire tooth in an even manner.
This eliminates the pain in a majority of cracked tooth situations. As a cautionary measure, temporary crown is placed initially to check whether it relieves the pain and to eliminate the need for a root canal.
Already existing large sized fillings or trauma can cause the cusps of the tooth to break. Cusps are important part of a tooth, as they withstand most of the stress while chewing. Therefore it is necessary to cover the cusps to prevent fracture of filling and to restore function of the tooth.
In some cases, a tooth fractures up to the bone level. This indicates a crown lengthening treatment. The bone and gums are trimmed to the level of the tooth fracture. This helps in placement of crown margin on sound tooth structure.
Persons with teeth grinding or bruxism habit will have very short teeth over the long term. Teeth are also affected by acid erosion, which is caused by
- Acidic diet
- GERD (Gastrointestinal reflux)
The enamel wears off completely and the remaining tooth material is soft and small. The bite collapses over time, and using crowns after increasing the bite is the only option for restoring the teeth.
The shape, color or spaces present between teeth are some of the reasons for an undesirable appearance. Dental crowns help to restore such teeth to their normal beautiful self. For front teeth, dental veneers are apt and also conservative way of improving appearance. The veneers need very little or no preparation in contrast to crown preparation, which needs reducing of the tooth that needs the crown placement.
Other Uses of Dental Crowns
Other applications of dental crowns include
- For placement of crowns over dental implants
- For dental bridges
- For providing stability for multiple loose teeth
Types of Dental Crown Materials
Crowns can be made of porcelain, ceramic, gold alloy, zirconia, stainless steel and resin. Cosmetic or esthetic crowns are generally made of ceramic or porcelain as they resemble natural teeth in color. CAD/CAM is a sophisticated technology used for making the crowns and has high precision. Each material has its own advantages and drawbacks. Hence you need to consult with your dentist on the right type of crown for your particular situation.
The procedure of dental crown placement consists of two dental visits. During the first appointment, the tooth is examined by your dentist and its feasibility for supporting the crown is verified. The tooth is then prepared or reduced on all sides for receiving the crown.
If you have broken or damaged tooth, the tooth will be restored with a filling to make it sufficient enough for crown placement.
Once the tooth is filled and shaped to the sufficient measurement, an impression is taken of the prepared tooth along with the surrounding teeth and gums.
The impression is sent to dental laboratory for making of permanent crown. A temporary crown will be made for the prepared tooth to function as a stand-in until the completion of the permanent crown.
The second visit involves removal of temporary crown following which new crown will be positioned on the tooth and fastened to it using an adhesive made exclusively for the crown placement.
Once the placement is finished, the crown will resemble your permanent tooth in appearance, feel and function.
Dental crowns usually last for about 10 to 15 years. In spite of their durability, the crowns are susceptible to cavities or fracture. It is therefore necessary to maintain proper oral hygiene to prevent frequent replacement of the crown. The cost of dental crowns generally differs as it is based on the expertise of lab technician and dentist, and on the material used for making the crown. Most often insurance cover is present for such procedures through which a major part of the cost will be taken care of.