Dental crowns are caps placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size and function. If you have a weak, broken, misshapen or severely discoloured tooth, you may want to consider dental crowns. This article will give you a clear picture of how this dental procedure is done, its types, benefits, potential risks, and more. This way, you can decide if it’s right for you.
What Are Dental Crowns?
Also known as dental caps, crowns are tooth-shaped caps placed over a tooth during a dental restoration procedure. The goal is to completely encircle or cover the entire tooth to restore its function and appearance. They are long-lasting and a good treatment option to help regain your confidence by improving your smile.
Why Are Dental Crowns Needed?
People get this dental treatment for a variety of reasons, and here are the most important ones:
- To replace a large filling.
If you have a tooth with a large dental filling, there may not be enough healthy teeth left to support it. In this case, your dentist may recommend placing a crown over the tooth.
- To protect a tooth from breaking.
A dental crown can also be used to cover and protect a fractured tooth or weak teeth. This is usually the case with teeth that have undergone root canal therapy.
- To restore a broken tooth.
A dental crown can help restore its shape and appearance if you have a cracked or chipped tooth.
- To hold together parts of a cracked tooth.
Sometimes, your dentist may place a crown on each side of the cracked tooth to keep it together and prevent further damage.
- To attach a dental bridge.
A dental bridge is used to fill in the gaps created by one or more missing teeth. The dental crowns are placed on the teeth on either side of the gap and act as anchors for the dental bridge.
- To cover a severely discoloured or misshapen tooth.
Dental crowns are used for cosmetic purposes. They can be used to cover misshapen teeth or have severe discolouration that cannot be corrected with teeth whitening procedures.
- To cover a dental implant.
A dental implant is a metal post placed in the jawbone to act as a replacement for a missing tooth. Your dentist places a crown on top of the dental implant to provide a natural-looking tooth.
What Are The Benefits Of Dental Crowns?
There are a few benefits of crowns, as follows:
- They help relieve discomfort.
A damaged tooth can become sensitive to temperature or pressure. After addressing these issues with an appropriate dental procedure, the tooth will be protected with a dental crown, which will help relieve discomfort.
- Crowns can improve your appearance.
If you are unhappy with the way your teeth look, dental crowns can help. They can cover misshapen or discoloured teeth and give you a more aesthetically pleasing smile.
- Crowns can help you eat and speak properly.
If you have a tooth that is cracked or chipped, it can make it difficult to eat or speak properly. Dental crowns can help restore your ability to eat and speak normally by covering the damaged tooth.
- Crowns can last a long time.
With proper care, your dental crowns can last for many years.
- They look natural.
Dental crowns can be made to match the colour of your real teeth for a natural appearance. This way, they blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile.
- They are customised.
You only get a custom crown that fits your mouth and tooth.
- It involves a less invasive procedure.
While other restorative dental procedures are invasive, crowns are relatively straightforward and less invasive.
What Are The Types Of Dental Crowns?
The following are the different types of crowns:
Metals used are alloys of palladium, platinum, chromium, nickel or gold crown. This is the strongest type of crown and the most resistant to wear, break and chip. Their main drawbacks are they may be expensive and more visible.
These are the types of crowns that give the best natural tooth colour match. They are also less likely to chip or wear down over time. They may not be as strong as metal crowns, but they can be used for front and back teeth. They can be a great option for those who have metal allergies. Their main disadvantage is their high cost.
Next to all-porcelain, it offers a natural tooth colour match. It can be used for both front and back teeth. It has benefits similar to all-porcelain but is stronger than the latter. For this reason, it may wear its opposite teeth faster than usual. However, it’s more gentle than all-metal and all-resin crowns.
It’s the cheapest type among others and the least resistant to breakage.
- Stainless steel crowns
This is often used as a restorative option for repairing and preserving the remaining tissue of a severely damaged and decayed tooth.
This is a popular crown type as it provides strength and a natural tooth colour match. It can be used for both front and back teeth. The main disadvantage is the metal post may show through if your gums recede over time.
How Is A Dental Crown Installed?
As mentioned, putting on a crown is less invasive and straightforward. Here are the typical steps:
- They will start the procedure by taking an x-ray to check the root of the tooth needing a crown and the surrounding teeth. This helps the dentist determine if a dental crown is your best option. In some instances, your dentist will perform a root canal procedure if there’s a risk of infection or injury to the tooth’s pulp.
- The dentist will numb your tooth and the surrounding gums with a local anaesthetic.
- Then, your dentist will prepare your tooth by removing any decay or damaged tissue. If necessary, they will also reduce the size of your tooth so that the crown can fit properly. If a wide area of the tooth is missing, they will put a filling material. This is to make the tooth stronger to support the crown.
- Once your tooth is prepared, the dentist will take a dental impression of your tooth which will be used to make your crown. They will put a temporary crown on your prepared tooth while you wait for your permanent crown to be made. This is to allow you to eat and speak properly.
- When your permanent crown is ready, the dentist will apply numbing anaesthesia and remove the temporary crown. They will then install the permanent one making sure it fits properly and feels comfortable.
- You may need to return for a follow-up appointment to ensure your crown is fitting well and there are no complications.
What Are The Possible Complications Of Having A Crown?
While there are many benefits of crowns, they also come with potential complications, as follows:
- Discomfort or sensitivity
You may experience some discomfort or sensitivity, especially when eating hot or cold food. This is because your tooth is still adjusting to the crown.
- Allergic reaction
Some patients are allergic to crown materials. This is why you must let your dentist know if you have any allergies before the procedure.
- The crown comes off
There is a possibility that your crown will come off, especially if you don’t practice good dental hygiene or if you grind your teeth at night. If this happens, see your dentist immediately, as an exposed tooth is more susceptible to decay and infection.
- Damage to the adjacent natural tooth
Your new permanent crown can damage the adjacent teeth if not installed properly. This is possible when the crown is too big or too small.
- Nerve damage
The dental procedure can damage the nerve of your tooth, leading to pain, tingling, or numbness in your tooth, gums, lips, or tongue.
- Tooth decay
If you don’t practice good oral hygiene, there’s a chance that tooth decay can develop under your crown. This is because food and bacteria can still build up in this area. As a result, you can have a loose crown.
- Dark colour at the gum line
The metal post of a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown may show through your gums, giving your gum line a dark colour. Though it doesn’t impact your crown’s function, it is not aesthetically pleasing.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
Crowns may last up to 15 years or more with proper care. The following are some factors that may shorten your crown’s lifespan:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Teeth grinding or bruxism
- Chewing hard foods or objects
- Position of crowns in the mouth
How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?
This differs on your location, how many necessary crowns are, which tooth needs crowns and the type of crown you require. But according to a national dental fee survey in 2020, the average cost of a ceramic crown is up to $2,100. On the other hand, you can expect to pay up to $2,100 for a porcelain crown. Make sure to ask your dentist before your treatment to avoid confusion.
Dental crowns are a great way to improve the appearance of your teeth and protect them from further damage. But like any other dental procedure, they come with potential risks. That’s why you must consult with your dentist first to see if dental crowns are the right choice for you. If you’re looking for a dentist, call us at 03 8771 4137 to book a consultation.
One of the dentists will check your dental health to see if you are a good candidate for crowns. They will not carry out a certain procedure without discussing the process. They will sit down with you and develop a treatment plan based on your condition. So, if you need a root canal treatment before placing your crowns, you will be well informed. Also, we will give you an accurate estimate so that you know what to expect in terms of cost.
People with these conditions are not good candidates for dental crowns: tooth decay, periodontal disease, active gum disease and insufficient tooth structure remaining to support a crown.
Yes. Some private health funds pay a portion of dental crown procedures.
Unfortunately, a tooth under a dental crown can rot because food and bacteria can still build up in this area. You can help prevent this by practising good oral hygiene.
The dental procedure itself is not painful. However, you may experience discomfort or pain afterwards as your mouth adjusts to the new dental crown. This is often temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter painkillers. If the pain persists, call your dentist.
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