Dental CrownsAnnapolis, MD
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped cosmetics that are used to cover and support teeth. They are the most versatile dental cosmetic used in cosmetic dentistry, as they can be used to improve the look of a tooth while protecting it.
Popularly known as caps, dental crowns fully encase the visible part of a tooth. They are shaped like natural teeth, making it virtually impossible to detect when a tooth has been covered up with tooth-colored crowns.
Some of the issues that can be addressed with dental crowns include:
- Decayed teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Chipped, fractured, or broken teeth
Crowns can also be combined with implants or dental bridges to replace missing teeth. Implants replace lost teeth roots, while crowns replace missing teeth. When combined with bridges, crowns are used to anchor down the artificial teeth that make up the bridge.
Everything you should know about dental crowns
Dental crowns can be made from a wide range of materials, but cosmetic dentists typically recommend porcelain, ceramic, and composite resin crowns. These crowns can be color-matched with the rest of a patient's teeth. However, these different materials have unique properties of their own.
- Porcelain crowns: These are the most common type of dental crowns. They are more durable than ceramic or composite crowns and look natural when placed. Porcelain crowns can last up to 20 years with good dental hygiene. They can be fused with metal to increase their durability
- Ceramic crowns: These crowns are made from high-strength ceramic that is compatible with dental porcelain. These crowns can be color matched to blend in with the rest of your teeth and do not contain any metal. They provide similar aesthetics to porcelain crowns. Some dentists have 3D milling machines that allow them to create ceramic crowns from ceramic blocks on-site
- Composite crowns: Composite crowns are made from a tooth-colored resin similar to what dentists use for composite bonding. They are less durable than porcelain or ceramic dental crowns, but they offer a more conservative treatment option as less of the healthy tooth structure needs to be removed. Composite dental crowns are typically the most affordable type of crown
- Porcelain fused to metal: These crowns are more durable than all ceramic or porcelain crowns and typically give similar aesthetics. However, the line where the metal meets porcelain might become visible after some time. These types of crowns are best suited for teeth at the back of the mouth that might not be as visible
The dental crown procedure
Placing a dental crown on a patient's tooth typically requires two trips to the clinic. The patient's tooth is carefully examined during the first visit, and x-rays might be taken. Any existing issues like a damaged pulp chamber are addressed at this point.
The dentist then starts preparing the tooth for a crown by removing enamel from its sides. Factors like how damaged the tooth is and the type of crown being used determine how much enamel is removed. For example, metal crowns tend to be thinner than porcelain or ceramic crowns, so less enamel is removed when preparing teeth for them.
Sometimes, the dentist might need to build up the tooth instead of removing enamel from its sides. Composite resin or dental filling is typically used to do that.
Once an impression of the patient's tooth has been taken, digital pictures or a dental mold is used to make a model of the tooth. The mold is sent to technicians in a dental lab who make restorations like crowns for a living. The customized restoration is usually ready in two weeks. The prepped tooth is covered with a temporary crown to protect it for the time being. The temporary crown is bonded with temporary cement so it can be easily removed when it is time.
The patient comes in for the next part of their treatment after the dentist has received their custom crown. The provisional crown is taken off, and the custom crown is placed into its position. Alterations are made as needed before permanently bonding the crown to the tooth with dental cement. The appearance and function of the patient's tooth should be restored at this point.
Life after getting a dental crown
Crowns are not susceptible to dental decay, but the tooth underneath them still is. Bacteria can enter the tooth through the crown's margins, the line where the dental crown meets the tooth. It is vital to practice good dental hygiene even after getting a crown.
It is also essential to avoid chewing on hard objects that can damage your dental crown. It is best to wait until the anesthetic has worn off before eating anything as well.
Dental crowns usually last for about 15 to 20 years with proper care, but they might need to be replaced sooner if they become loose or show signs of wear and tear. Regular dental checkups will help ensure that any issues with your dental crown are caught early on.
Simple things patients can do to get the most out of their dental crowns include:
- Practice good dental hygiene: This includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and using mouthwash. It is also crucial to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings
- Avoid chewing on hard objects: Chewing on hard objects can damage your dental crown. If you need to chew on something hard, like ice, use your back teeth instead of your front teeth
- Be careful when eating sticky or chewy foods: Sticky and chewy foods can potentially pull off your dental crown. Cut these foods into tiny pieces and eat them slowly to avoid any issues
- Avoid smoking: Smoking can stain your dental crown, and it is also bad for your overall oral health
- See your dentist if you have any concerns: If you think there might be something wrong with your dental crown, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible
Restore your smile with dental crowns
Dental crowns are a common procedure that can be used to restore the function and appearance of teeth. With proper care, dental crowns can last for 15 to 20 years. Practice good dental hygiene, avoid chewing on tough foods, and be careful when eating sticky or chewy foods to help make the most of your dental crown.
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