What is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are used for saving damaged or broken teeth, as well as when a tooth requires a root canal treatment. In order for the dental crown to get attached to the tooth, the tooth needs to be reduced in size first.
A dental crown is a prosthetic superstructure that restores, protects, and reinforces the brittle tooth, which can be used fully again by the patient. Dental crowns are usually highly durable which will give the patient a feeling of complete assurance.
When are Dental Crowns Recommended?
Dental crowning is nothing but a cap made in the shape of a tooth. This cap is placed in such a way that it can cover the tooth and restore its shape, strength, and size, thereby improving the appearance of the teeth. Dental crowning with a cap is often preferred for many reasons. When a tooth starts to whittle away, the crown serves as a filling that occupies the space and takes the exact shape of the tooth.
Dental crowns are recommended for all patients with:
- Root canal procedures
- Damaged or broken teeth
- Large cavities
Before having a dental crown, a root canal treatment is often necessary. If a root canal treatment is not performed before the dental crown placement, the patient may experience an increased sensitivity to hot and cold drinks for a certain amount of time after the procedure.
How is a Dental Crown Procedure Performed?
First, the dentist needs to reduce the size of the teeth, so the crown can fit perfectly. Dental crowns are made in the laboratory by a laboratory technician.
A dental crown is performed under local anesthesia, and the procedure itself takes about one hour.
Today different dental crowns are available, including the following:
- Stainless steel dental crowns are prefabricated crowns used until a permanent dental crown made is made from another material from the dental laboratory.
- Metal dental crowns are a good choice for the teeth located at the back of the mouth. They also do not break or chip and are usually made of palladium, nickel, or chromium.
- Porcelain fused to metal dental crowns are dental crowns made of porcelain and metal. The porcelain part of the crown can even break or chip, while the metal part of the crown can sometimes become visible, especially at the gum line, when the gums recede.
- All ceramic or all porcelain dental crowns are a better match when it comes to matching the color of the natural teeth. However, they are not as strong as metal fused dental crowns.
- All resin dental crowns do break off or chip, but they are the cheapest type of dental crowns.
- Zirconia dental crowns require no impression, and they are made in a dental laboratory.
- Temporary dental crowns or permanent dental crowns are available. Temporary crowns are made in the dentist’s office until the permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory.
Non metallic crowns are also called jacket crowns and sometimes all ceramic crowns. The non metallic crowns are artificial non metallic restorations used to cover all the surfaces of the clinical crown. It is made only from porcelain or acrylic.
The metal ceramic crowns are contraindicated in patients with active caries or untreated periodontal disease, in young patients with large pulp chambers due to high risk of pulp exposure, and where a more conservative restoration can be made. The stainless steel crowns can be classified as:
1. Untrimmed: These crowns are neither trimmed nor contoured, thus they require a lot of adaption and are time-consuming.
2. Pre-trimmed: These crowns have straight, non-contoured sides, but they are festooned to be parallel to the gingival crest. They still require contouring and trimming.
3. Pre-contoured: These crowns are festooned and are also pre contoured minimally.
What to expect after Dental Crowns?
Eating on the side of a dental crown should be avoided immediately after the procedure for a certain amount of time. Solid food should also be avoided for a long period of time, as the dental crown can become loose.
It is normal to have a certain level of discomfort after receiving a dental crown. If the root canal is not treated at the same time when the dental crown is placed, the patient may experience some additional sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and food for some time after the treatment.
The most important thing to note about having a crown is that you will require an anesthetic. Many people feel the sensation of a numb mouth to be extremely odd and, as a result, may pick at their lips, overbite, and make their gums sore or even bite their tongue or inside of their mouth. You should always be careful when your mouth is under the influence of an anesthetic to be sure that you don't cause any damage. As the numb feeling dwindles, you may experience some discomfort, especially as you have had a considerable amount of work done. Your dentist may prescribe you with some strong pain killers if they feel it is necessary. Alternatively, an over the counter medication such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or co-codamol may help ease any pain. In case the site of the work is sore for a few days after receiving a crown, you might require a numbing agent, such as one you might use on a mouth ulcer. You may also notice that your mouth has suddenly become extremely sensitive to hot and cold substances, such as tea or ice cream. This is perfectly normal after dental work, but if you find these problems persisting, you may need to ask for a further examination.
Important Facts about Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are advised in the following circumstances:
- For protecting a weak tooth from breaking
- For holding together parts of a cracked tooth from further breaking
- For restoring a broken or severely worn out tooth
- For covering and supporting a tooth with a large filling
- For holding a dental bridge in place
- For making a cosmetic modification
Dental crowns are not recommended in cases of:
- Unsuitable bone support
- Unsuitable dental root
Dental crowns may or may not be recommended for your dental issues. Be sure to ask your dentist about your options.