Do you regularly engage in combat or full contact sports? Without a mouth guard?
Do you have a particularly strong sweet tooth?
Does your home have hardwood or tiled flooring?
Do you have a fondness for smoking or dipping tobacco?
Do you have children that simply refuse to brush regularly?
The above questions are just a few of the conditions that may necessitate a dental crown. Whether you lose an incisor in a hockey match, crack a molar from chomping hard caramels, shatter a tooth upon falling onto your kitchen floor or discolor your teeth from frequent tobacco usage, a crown can cover up the issue and restore your smile. A crown may also be necessary in order to protect the baby teeth of young children until their adult teeth can develop.
Crowns intended for long-term use can be made from a variety of materials, with the severity of the tooth’s damage playing some factor in the patient’s options.
Crowns made from metal and metallic alloys are commonly used for their durability and necessitating a minimal removal of tooth mass. One drawback of metallic crowns is their appearance; metallic crowns are extremely common in molars.
Dental Crowns for Better Appearance
When appearances need to be maintained, metallic crowns can be fused with shaded porcelain to match your smile. The drawbacks of these metal/porcelain crowns is they are only slightly more durable than porcelain, can wear down over time and a dark streak is noticeable around the gum line from their metal.
While resin crowns are less durable and resilient than metallic crowns, they are among the cheaper options when a crown is necessary.
Even beyond the variety of material options, crowns can also be made as partial implants; these “onlays” and “3/4” crowns cover only a portion of a tooth. Barring zirconia or milled crowns, which can be made on-site in a single visit, crowns require two visits to the dentist.
X-rays and possibly a preliminary root canal if the tooth’s pulp is at risk. The dentist anesthetizes the tooth’s area in order to file it down for fitting; if the tooth is greatly damaged, the dentist will use filler to anchor the crown.
The dentist then makes a mold of the tooth. The dentist will then install a temporary acrylic crown.
Your dentist removes the acrylic crown, checks the permanent crown and cements it under anesthetic.
While a crown may seem like the perfect solution, there are a handful of issues that may crop up after their installations.
Discomfort or Sensitivity
The tooth may feel tender or especially reactive to temperatures. Pain or sensitivity from biting down is a sign of a misfit and you should call your dentist immediately to fix it. Porcelain crowns can chip.
Loosening or Falling Out
Cement can sometimes wash out, leaving the crown loose and open enough for bacteria to slip in. Crowns can fall out when there is a poor fit, improper cement or only a minimal amount of tooth to cover.
In rare cases, metallic and porcelain crowns run the risk of agitating allergies. Be mindful that crowns are more like a prolonged “band-aid” for the dental issue.
And crowned teeth are also still at risk for decay and gum disease. You should maintain a regimen of brushing twice daily, usually accompanied with some mouth wash…and always remember to floss!