A dental crown is a restoration that covers or caps a tooth, restoring it to its normal size and shape while strengthening and improving its appearance. Crowns are necessary when the tooth is broken down to the point where a filling will not be effective.
Benefits of Dental Crowns
A dental crown can be used for various reasons including covering discolored or misshapen teeth, and in conjunction with bridges and dental implants. Other benefits of dental crowns may include:
- Holding a cracked tooth together to prevent further damage
- Covering and supporting a tooth with a large filling
- Restoring a broken tooth
Dental Crown Procedure
Lexington Dental Care utilizes the CEREC process to allow for "one-visit" crowns to be prepared and finalized in a single visit. The dental crown process takes place in two phases. In the first phase of the appointment, the area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic for total comfort. The tooth is then prepared by filing or reshaping, so the crown can fit in securely and comfortably. After the tooth is prepared, an electronic scan is made of the teeth and sent to our in-house milling machine for fabrication.
During the milling procedure the patient is relaxed and able to leave the chair for an extended period. When the fabrication is complete, the new crown is inspected for proper fit and then glazed to match the color and natural appearance of the surrounding teeth. Lastly, the crown is cemented onto the prepared tooth and the patient is able to leave with fully restored tooth in a single visit.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are several different methods of crown restoration, each using a different crown material. Different types of crown material include:
Metal crowns are made entirely of an alloy that may include gold, platinum, palladium, or other elements. They withstand biting and chewing forces well and rarely chip or break. The biggest drawback of metal crowns is the metallic color.
Ceramic or Porcelain Crowns
These crowns provide the best natural color of all the dental crowns. In many instances, it is hard to determine which tooth is a crown and which is a natural tooth.
Complications of Dental Crowns
Some patients experience increased sensitivity immediately after the procedure, particularly if the crowned tooth still has a nerve in it. For sensitivity to heat and cold, some patients are advised to use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Other complications that may occur with dental crowns are:
Pain or Sensitivity When Biting
This usually means that the crown is too high on the tooth. If this is the case, the dentist will be able to fix the problem by adjusting the crown.
Chip in a Porcelain Crown
Resin can be used to repair the remaining crown. If the chipping is extensive, the entire crown may need to be replaced.
Loose Dental Crown
If the cement washes out from underneath the crown, bacteria can then leak in and cause decay. A dentist should be consulted to resecure the crown to alleviate the problem.
In some cases, a dental crown may fall off entirely. If this happens, contact the dentist immediately. The dentist may be able to replace the crown or create a new crown if necessary.
With proper oral hygiene, dental crowns can last from five to fifteen years. Patients should consult with their dentist to see if dental crowns are appropriate for their individual condition.