Restorative Dentistry

Guide to Dental Crowns

Maintaining a healthy smile is not always easy. Oral problems such as dental decay, tooth injury, or loss of teeth can occur even with regular dental care. When dental issues like these go beyond the utility of a simple filling, dental crowns come to the rescue. These hollow, artificial teeth are designed to fit over a decayed, damaged, or cracked tooth, or a dental implant to improve its strength, size, shape, or appearance.

Reasons for Dental Crown Placement

The reasons behind choosing dental crowns are manifold, and they extend far beyond simply cosmetic desires. They are used extensively in preventive and restorative dentistry for the following key reasons:

  • Tooth Decay: When a tooth is heavily decayed and a regular dental filling isn’t sufficient, a crown may be necessary.
  • Root Canal: After a root canal treatment, a crown is typically placed over the tooth to strengthen it.
  • Cracked Teeth: Crowns are used to hold together sections of a cracked tooth, preventing further damage.
  • Dental Implants: Dental crowns are placed on top of dental implants to function and look like regular teeth.
  • Cosmetic Enhancement: In some cases, dental crowns are used to cover discolored or badly shaped teeth, enhancing the aesthetic appearance of the smile.

Types of Dental Crown Materials

When it comes to choosing the material for your crown, it’s crucial to take into account durability, aesthetics, cost, and personal preference. Here are some of the most commonly used materials:

  • Porcelain/Ceramic: Ceramic crowns provide the best natural color match to your own teeth and are generally used for front teeth.
  • Porcelain Fused to Metal: These crowns offer a stronger bond than regular porcelain because they are connected to a metal structure. They are both attractive and reliable.
  • Base Metal Alloys: These are extremely resistant to wear and tear, requiring the least amount of healthy tooth removal prior to placement.
  • Gold Alloys: Consisting of gold, copper, and other metals, these crowns are highly resistant to chipping and severe wear.

These materials each have their strengths and weaknesses, so consulting with your dentist to select the material most appropriate for your individual needs is essential.

Dental Crown Placement Procedure

The procedure for having a dental crown placed usually involves a few steps and typically necessitates at least two dental visits. Here’s an overview:

First Visit – Examination and Preparation: The dentist will examine the tooth to ensure that it can support a crown, then begin filing it down to prepare for the crown. If the tooth is significantly damaged or broken, the dentist may need to fill it to make it large enough to receive the crown. An impression of the tooth is then made and sent to the dental lab where the crown will be manufactured.

Temporary Crown: To protect the prepared tooth, a temporary crown is often placed until the permanent crown is ready.

Second Visit – Placement of the Permanent Crown: When the crown is ready, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and check the fit and color of the permanent one before cementing it in place.

Follow Up: There may be a period of adjustment as your mouth gets used to the feel of the new crown. Regular check-ups and proper dental hygiene are essential to maintaining the dental crown.

In Conclusion

Dental crowns are a versatile solution to many dental problems, rendering your teeth both strong and beautiful. Choosing the right material can ensure that your dental crown serves its purpose, contributing to your oral health in the most beneficial way possible. Understanding the procedural expectations can help you feel confident and secure throughout the process. It’s important to communicate with your dentist and make the best choices for your dental health – after all, your smile is worth it.

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