A dental crown is a cap that is shaped like a tooth and is placed over a tooth, like a cover. The purpose of a crown is to restore the shape, size and strength of the tooth. When the crown is cemented into place it fully encases the portion of the tooth that is above the gum line. Sometimes multiple crowns are used to create a bridge to fill in a gap between teeth.
Why would a dental crown be needed?
- To protect a weak tooth from breaking or hold together the pieces of a cracked tooth.
- To restore a tooth that is already broken or has been severely worn down.
- To cover a tooth that is filled and lacks an adequate amount of extra tooth.
- To hold a dental bridge in place.
- To cover a tooth that is severely misshaped or discolored.
- To conceal a dental implant.
- To make a cosmetic modification.
What types of crowns are available?
Crowns are made from a variety of materials. Some are made from metals such as gold or nickel and others out of stainless steel. Metal crowns are typically used for temporary placement where resin, porcelain fused with metal and ceramic types are used for permanent crowns. The latter varieties are easier to match to your tooth color which allows for a more natural look. Resin crowns are less expensive but can wear down over time.
Temporary versus Permanent
Temporary crowns can be made in your dentist’s office. Permanent crowns are custom made and are prepared in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are made of acrylic or stainless steel and are used in restoration while permanent crowns are being made in a lab.
The placement of a Crown
The complete procedure takes two visits to your dentist. During the first visit the area which the crown will be placed is examined and prepared for the crown. A temporary crown may be placed at this time until your permanent one is made. At your second visit, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is placed.
Caring for a Dental Crown
- Avoid sticky foods like chewing gum and caramel
- Deter from having hard foods that are difficult to chew.
- Minimize the use of the side of your mouth that has the temporary crown. Shift most of your chewing to the other side of your mouth.
Complications with Dental Crowns
Discomfort or sensitivity
After a crown is place on your tooth, you may feel some sensitivity or discomfort as the anesthesia begins to wear off. Hot or cold sensitivities could be remedied by using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If you’re feeling pain when eating, the crown might just need to be adjusted.
Porcelain crowns can sometimes chip. If you have a minor chip, it can easily be repaired with resin. If the chip is massive, a new crown might need to put on.
Crowns fall off
If a crown is not properly placed, doesn’t fit correctly or the crown isn’t holding on to the remaining tooth structure, it could fall off. Until you can get to the dentist, you can temporarily put the crown back, after cleaning the crown and tooth with dental adhesive.
What is a Dental Bridge?
A dental bridge is made up of two crowns. One crown is placed on each side of a gap in your mouth holding a false tooth to fill the opening. A bridge can be permanent or it can be removable. It could be made of gold alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials.