A hundred years ago, the word crown would conjure up the picture of a king or a queen with a crown on his or her head. Today, the word crown would normally make you think of the dental crown. A dental crown is so called because it fits on the head of a tooth. Interestingly, the head of the tooth, the visible part is also called by dentists as the crown. We will spare the royals and talk of the dental crown.
What is a Dental Crown-Made of?
At Edge Dental, we use dental crowns made from different materials, depending on their intended use:
- Metal Crowns– Metals alloys are less expensive, but they tend to have a distinct metallic color which does not match your teeth. Hence, they are not preferred for the restoration of front teeth. These are usually used on the back teeth which receive very heavy chewing forces.
- Resin Composite Crowns – These crowns are made from tooth-colored polymeric resins. However, these are not as strong or durable as the porcelain crowns. They are also not as durable as the crowns made from dental porcelains.
- Porcelain Crowns – Porcelain (ceramic) crowns have lately become very popular because of their natural appearance. Porcelain crowns exhibit excellent strength and durability. However, since they are very hard, they wear out the opposite teeth. Due to their aesthetics, Porcelain crowns are one of the most commonly used types of crowns for restoring damaged teeth.
- Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM)– These crowns are made by a combination of metal alloys and porcelain. They are made by fusing porcelain on top of metal crowns, which retains the esthetics of porcelain but reduces cost. One of their disadvantages is the appearance of a metallic band that may show up at the edge of the porcelain layer. These crowns can be good for front and back teeth. However, they are quite durable and strong.
- Zirconia– Zirconia based crowns are rapidly becoming popular due to their excellent esthetics and natural appearance. Zirconia an expensive ceramic material but also the best of crown materials available in the market. It has superior strength, looks, and wear properties.
Why Crown a Tooth?
Teeth are crowned for two broad reasons: cosmetic, and protective. Normally the types of crowns made for protective reasons will also consider the aesthetic aspects. That is the reason why zirconia is becoming popular.
- Protective crowns – Crowns will be placed on selected teeth under the following conditions.
- Cracked or chipped teeth which are not likely to survive chewing forces.
- A portion of a tooth has broken off.
- Extensive tooth decay
- A tooth that has got a large filling will become weak and needs to be protected by a crown.
- A tooth has undergone a root canal treatment (RCT). RCT leaves the tooth hollow and weak. Such teeth should be supported with a crown else those will be lost.
- A tooth is structurally weak for any other reason.
- In case a dental bridge is to be made two natural healthy teeth (one on either side) are given crowns. The bridge is then attached to these crowns.
- Cosmetic crowns – Crowns may also be applied to teeth for cosmetic reasons. These are a good option in case you need to have your teeth whitened too often. Crown may also be placed over dental implants. Another cosmetic application of dental crowns is for a complete smile makeover. For this purpose, Zirconia crowns are mainly used, as they can give very natural colors and appearance.
Crowns are placed on the portion of portions of teeth above the gum line. It a tooth has been damaged too much it may not even be possible to apply a tooth crown. Depending on the remaining healthy tooth structure, our dentists will decide whether a tooth can be rebuilt and crowned.
The following steps are involved in applying crowns. Getting one or more crowns will normally demand two visits.
- Consultation– During the consultation, we will advise you which of your teeth need crowning, and which material should be used. We will also inform you of the expected cost of the various material options and their pros and cons.
- Tooth Preparation – once you have decided the tooth crown material in consultation with our dentist, we will prepare the tooth. This will be done by removing a very thin layer of the enamel from the surface of the tooth to cater for the thickness of the crown. Sometimes, we may have to numb the tooth if the thickness of remaining enamel is very less and may cause sensitivity during tooth preparation.
- Mold Preparation– wax molds of your teeth will be taken by our dentist after the teeth have been prepared. Due to the removal of enamel, a prepared tooth may show some sensitivity to hot and cold. We will give you a temporary crown while the permanent crown is being prepared in the laboratory.
- Crown preparation– the molds are sent to the dental lab for preparation of the crowns along with detailed instructions and the choice of materials and colors. The process can take a few weeks which can vary with the workload and the type crown.
- Fitting of the crown– You get another appointment once the crowns are received. In this visit, the dentist removes the temporary crowns from your teeth and cleans them again. Our dentist will check the crown for proper construction, fit, and color match. Then we will remove the temporary crown, clean the prepared tooth and then attach the crown by using adhesive
Dental Crowns Post care
Crowns are permanently fitted and can only be removed by a dentist. They will normally not need any special dental care except routine oral hygiene and six-monthly dental visits. However, you should avoid taking hard and sticky foods as they can dislodge the crowns.
With normal oral care, crowns can last for many years. They can also significantly improve your smile and facial esthetics. At Edge Dental, we can give you the smile of your dreams with zirconia crowns. Visit us today and let us give you a complete smile makeover.