What is a dental crown? Why is a dental crown even needed? The first thing to know is that a dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” placed over a tooth. The dental crown covers the tooth to reconstruct its shape and size, strength and enhance its appearance. Dental crowns can be made of metals, porcelain, resin, and ceramics and are generally easy to maintain. When cemented into place, the crowns will encase the entire visible part of a tooth.
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Why Is a Dental Crown Needed?
Over time, teeth can be damaged for various reasons, like tooth decay or an injury. Some people, begin to lose the shape and size of their teeth. In some cases, our Port Coquitlam dentists use a dental crown to protect a damaged tooth from fracturing or use a crown to hold together parts of a cracked tooth. Dental crowns are an excellent option to strengthen a tooth for a large filling when there isn’t much of a tooth left. In addition, dental crowns are used to hold a dental bridge in place or cover misshaped or severely discolored teeth and even cover a dental implant and or for cosmetic modification.
What Are the Different Types of Crowns?
Permanent crowns are made from several different types of materials. First, stainless steel crowns are prefabricated and are used on permanent teeth primarily as a stopgap measure. The crown shields the tooth or filling while a permanent crown is created from another material. The next type of crown is the metal dental crowns, which combine alloys with a high content of gold or platinum or base-metal alloys. Metal crowns are excellent options because they withstand biting and chewing forces well and last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal dental crowns chip or break and are an excellent choice for out-of-sight molars.
There are also porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns that can be color-matched to your adjacent teeth. But, more wearing occurs to the opposing teeth with this crown type compared to metal or resin crowns. As well, the crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Compared to all-ceramic dental crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns resemble your natural teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can show as a dark line around the gum line, and even more so if your gums begin to recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth and long bridges where the metal is needed for strength.
A less expensive option is the all-resin dental crowns; however, this type of crown can wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
The most natural-looking all-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns are another great option and can be a more suitable choice for people with metal allergies. All-ceramic crowns are commonly used for front and back teeth.
What is the difference between temporary crowns and permanent crowns?
The most significant difference is that temporary crowns can be made in the dentist’s office, whereas permanent crowns are typically made in a dental laboratory. Typically, temporary crowns are made of an acrylic-based material or stainless steel and can be used as a temporary restoration until a lab constructs a permanent crown.
Preparing a Tooth for a Crown
Preparing a tooth for a crown usually requires two visits to our Port Coquitlam dental clinic. In the first visit, we will examine and then prepare the tooth for the placement of a crown. Placement of the permanent crown will take place during the second visit.
First Visit: Examining and preparing the tooth
Our dental team takes a few X-rays at the first visit to check the tooth’s roots receiving the crown and surrounding bone. Before the process of making a crown begins, your dentist will anesthetize (numb) the tooth and the gum tissue around the tooth. Next, the tooth receiving the crown is reshaped along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown. The amount removed depends on the type of crown used.
After reshaping the tooth, we will use a paste or putty to make an impression of the tooth to receive the crown. The impressions or scans are sent to a dental lab where the crown will be manufactured. During this first appointment, your dentist will create a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while the crown is being made.
Second Visit: Receiving the permanent dental crown
At the second visit, the temporary crown is removed, and the dentist will check the fit and color of the permanent crown. If everything is acceptable, a local anesthetic will numb the tooth, and the new crown is permanently cemented in place.
How Should I Care for My Temporary Dental Crown?
Because temporary dental crowns are just that — a quick fix until a permanent crown is ready — most dentists suggest that a few precautions. These include:
- Avoid sticky, chewy foods (for example, chewing gum, caramel), which have the potential of grabbing and pulling off the crown.
- Minimize the use of the side of your mouth with the temporary crown. Instead, shift the bulk of your chewing to the other side of the mouth.
- Avoid chewing hard foods (such as raw vegetables), which could dislodge or break the crown.
- Slide rather than lifting out dental floss when cleaning between your teeth to avoid pulling off the temporary crown.
Take regular trips to the dentist
It’s wise to book a professional cleaning every six months. During these cleanings, your dental hygienist and dentist can clean hard-to-reach areas in your mouth, remove tartar, and detect cavities or problem spots that may develop into holes early. If there are any issues, we will put together a dental plan to catch cavities early. This approach helps you avoid expensive procedures like root canals.
At Encore Dental, we probably have the highest standards of sterilization and cleanliness of any business, office, or clinic. We recommend that you maintain your regular brushing and flossing regimen. We also recommend that you continue to make healthy diet choices and book your appointment so we can help you maintain good oral health and reduce decay.
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