A dental crown is a cap that is tooth shaped. It covers a particular tooth to re-establish its size, shape, appearance and improve its strength.
When the crown is cemented, it completely encases the visible portion of the tooth.
They look just like a natural tooth and last for about seven years. Sometimes, they last up to forty years.
When is a dental crown needed?
There are a number of conditions when crowning may be required. Some of them are:
- To protect any tooth from breakage or decay and in some cases to hold pieces of a cracked tooth together.
- To restore a broken tooth.
- To support and cover a tooth with an outsized filling in case a large part of the tooth is not available.
- To keep a dental bridge in its place.
- To cover up a tooth that is highly discolored.
- To cover up a dental implant.
Some typical use cases of dental crowns:
- In case of a cracked tooth resulting from chewing with excessive force, crowning becomes essential.
- A tooth which underwent root canal treatment may become weak and be more vulnerable to a fracture. Thus, it needs to be covered by a crown so that chances of fracture are minimized.
- When a tooth becomes fractured such that any filling cannot restore it then it has to be replaced with a crown.
- Amelogenesis Imperfecta is a hereditary condition where the enamel of the tooth becomes very brittle, gets fractured easily, and thus requires crowning.
- Dentinogenesis Imperfecta is another condition where the dentin becomes defective. This results in wearing of the dentin pulp and the enamel and thus needs to be restored by crowns.
Dental Crown Procedure
Initially, the dentist will take some X-rays of the tooth that is going to receive the treatment. In case the damage is too much, then, first a root canal treatment has to be given. Crowning is not a simple process but modern technology and techniques have made it simple and pain free.
The process begins by anesthetizing the gum-tissues surrounding the tooth. Then the concerned tooth is filed along the sides and the surfaces in order to get crown some space. The amount of the tooth to be filed is a prime factor in deciding the usage of crown-type. If a large part is missing then some filling material comes in handy to create support for the crown.
Once the reshaping is over, some putty is used to take the impression and mark of the concerned tooth so that the crown can be made perfectly well.
During the first visit to the dentist, you will be provided a crown for temporary use so that the filed tooth is safe.
The second visit to the dentist is all about getting the permanent crown. The temporary crown is removed and the permanent one is checked for color and fitting. If it is perfect then the crown is cemented permanently.
This is how the process of crowning looks like. Some problems may develop after the crown is cemented like allergic reactions, discomfort, sensitivity, chipping off, loosening, falling off, cracking etc. Generally, a crowned tooth does not require any special care regimen but it also does not ensure complete protection to the underlying tooth from gum disease and infections. Thus, brushing and flossing must be done regularly.
Various types of crowns
- The metal crowns comprise of gold alloy, other alloys and base metal alloys. They are strong crowns and last longer as compared to other types. The major drawback is their distinct color.
- PFM or porcelain fused to metal crowns can be matched to the color of the neighboring teeth. They are subject to more wear and tear but look like natural tooth.
- All resin crowns are very economical but are vulnerable to damage and fractures.
- All porcelain or all ceramic crowns are the best to get the natural looking tooth but are comparatively less strong. They are a good option for front tooth.
- Gold crowns are made of gold but are rarely preferred because of reduced aesthetic appeal.
- Zirconia crowns are the most durable and natural looking type of teeth crowns. Their only disadvantage is their higher price.