Everything You Need to Know before You Get a Crown on Your ToothYour dentist has recommended a dental crown, but you are hesitant because you aren’t sure what it is, what it looks like and how much it costs. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, a crown is the most common restorative dental procedure suggested by dentists.
A crown is a prosthetic device in the shape of a cap that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and protect it from further degradation. Unlike a denture, a crown is fixed on an existing tooth or implant, and can only be removed by a dentist.
Let us find out more about this restorative procedure.
Types of Dental Crowns
- Stainless Steel: This is a temporary crown that protects a tooth while a permanent crown is being prepared. A stainless steel crown is mostly used to treat children’s teeth to protect a primary tooth from decay.
- Metals: A metal crown is made of either alloys with a high gold/platinum content, or base-metal alloys. This type of crown can endure long-term wear and tear resulting from biting and chewing, and doesn’t break easily. However, it is not used in the front tooth because of its odd color.
- Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal: This crown is used on both, front and back teeth to provide strength and prevent decay. The color of the crown can be matched to the tooth, making it suitable for use in the front teeth. The problem with this, however, is that it cannot endure wear and tear and breaks off easily. Also, a dark metal line becomes visible on the tooth over time.
- All-Ceramic: An all-ceramic crown is considered to be the best choice by dentists. This crown blends with the natural color of the tooth better than any other material. It is also highly suitable for patients with metal allergies. Ceramic crowns are made of porcelain-based filling material and are highly resistant to wear and tear.
When Do You Need a Crown?
- When a Patient Needs a Root Canal: A decayed or infected tooth needs a root canal treatment. When root canal is completed, the dentist will place a crown on the affected tooth to restore its strength.
- For Cosmetic Reasons: Dentists may recommend a ceramic dental crown to enhance the appearance of a damaged or discolored tooth or to cover a tooth’s filling.
- When a Tooth Is Close to Breaking: A crown is also needed on a cracked tooth to offer strength and relief from sensitivity. Dental crown protects a weak tooth from decay and holds together parts of a cracked tooth.
- After Dental Implants: Dentists recommend crowns to patients who have undergone a dental implant. A crown covers the top of the implant and replaces the missing tooth, making it easier for the patient to chew normally.
- To Prevent Excessive Wear of Tooth: A tooth can be damaged due to reasons like teeth grinding or acid erosion caused by gastrointestinal acid reflux. Sometimes, a tooth may wear away naturally over time. The only way to restore the tooth is by covering it with crown.
What Is the Procedure?
A dental crown procedure usually requires two visits to the dentist. In the first visit, the dentist may take a few X-rays to check the root of the affected tooth. If he/she finds decay or risk of infection, then a root canal will be performed first.
The tooth is then filed to make room for the crown. Once the tooth is filed, the dentist will take an impression of the tooth for the crown and send it to a dental lab. The dentist will cover the tooth with a temporary crown during this time to prevent further damage to the tooth. In the second visit, which is usually after two-three weeks, the dentist will replace the temporary crown with a permanent crown.
CEREC is a cutting-edge dental technique that completes the process of placing a dental crown in one visit. The process uses Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) technology to create the crown on the same day. CEREC is a digital mapping technology that maps the inside of your mouth and takes a 3D scan of your tooth. It is faster and more accurate than the manual process.
The technique involves the following steps:
- The dentist will take x-rays of your tooth to determine if a crown is necessary.
- If yes, he/she will take a digital impression of the tooth with an intraoral camera.
- The CEREC software will create a virtual model of the tooth that the dentist will use for a virtual restoration on the screen.
- Based on the virtual model, a high-grade ceramic, plaque-resistant crown is milled in a few minutes and placed on the tooth.
Benefits of CEREC Technology
Apart from crowns, this technology can be used for other restorative dental procedures like rebuilding a damaged tooth due to decay, injury, malformation, root canal therapy, or infection. It is the perfect solution for those who want to minimize their time at the dental clinic.
Post-Crown Dental Care
Though a crown doesn’t require any special care, the tooth isn’t safe from decay and damage. Dentists recommend maintaining good oral hygiene practices like the following:
- Brush twice a day to remove plaque from tooth. Use oral care products that meet the American Dental Association’s standards for safety and effectiveness.
- Floss daily, especially around the crown, and rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash at least once a day.
- Avoid hard foods and ice.
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and teeth cleaning.
Lifespan of Crowns
According to research, 94% crowns last for ten years and around 91% last for as long as fifteen years. The good news is that they can last a lifetime if cared for. Typically, they will last up to 15 – 20 years.
Cost of Dental Crowns
The cost of a dental crown may vary depending on the type of crown, the condition of the tooth, and the dentist you’re consulting. For example, experienced dentists in Chicago charge a few thousand dollars for crowns. Several dentists also offer financing plans and you may also get a portion of the crown covered by an insurance policy.
Once the procedure is complete, you may take a while to get used to the crown. However, after some time it will feel normal in your mouth and look, function, and feel like a regular tooth. We hope the above mentioned points clear your doubts regarding dental crowns. If you still have any queries, make sure you consult your dentist and get your questions answered before starting the procedure.