A dental crown is a cap that is placed on a tooth. Crowns can be matched to your natural enamel color to make them look like part of the tooth or made of metal. A patient might need a crown on a tooth in order to restore its shape, integrity, look, and size.
When a patient comes into our clinic with damaged or unhealthy teeth, we will first suggest a crown. A broken or decayed tooth can affect a smile, bite, and overall oral health. Crowns not only help restore the tooth, but they can help boost self-esteem as well.
Who’s a Candidate?
Patients who benefit from crowns include those whose original teeth need something more to make them look whole. Types of teeth that could use a crown include:
Teeth that have been worn down by grinding (bruxism)
Teeth that have large fillings
Teeth that require a dental bridge
Teeth that need cosmetic dentistry improvement
Teeth that have undergone root canal treatment
Teeth with damaged surfaces
Sometimes after a procedure, there isn’t enough tooth structure left for a filling. This is when a crown is most necessary. Crowns are a great way to make teeth look uniform, and as a result, complete a full smile.
Crowns are often suggested for pediatric patients. Child patients who still have baby teeth will be fitted with crowns in the event of tooth decay. That is because baby teeth cannot support fillings. Crowns may also be a way to prevent cavities for children who have poor oral hygiene.
Our dentists at Brunelli Dental Partners will educate your children in good oral health to avoid cavities and the future need for dental crowns. But if the parent nor child cannot keep up with dental health, or there is a medical reason for weak, decayed teeth, our pediatric specialists may recommend crowns.
Crowns may be a good way to avoid frequent general anesthesia if the child has multiple cavities.
Dental crowns are made from a myriad of materials. Each type of crown has its benefits and dentists may recommend different materials for different applications. Dental crowns range from steel to ceramic and porcelain to composite resin.
The type of crown you choose will depend on the way you want your smile to look, your budget, the reason for the crown, and the crown’s placement. For instance, if the crown is placed on a back molar that is used to chew rigorously and regularly, a stronger material may be necessary to ensure longevity.
At Brunelli Dental Partners we have a lab within our dental office. That means we can make and apply color-matched ceramic, porcelain, and composite crowns during same-day appointments. If the type of crown needs to be sent to an outside lab, you will be fit for temporary crowns in-house until permanent crowns are ready to be placed.
Porcelain is a type of ceramic that is commonly used for dental crowns. Porcelain crowns are the most natural-looking crowns and are most often chosen to complete a healthy smile. The crowns are made to match your natural enamel color so that your tooth looks complete. If you want your crowns to be as discreet as possible, all-ceramic and all-porcelain crowns are the best choices. Ceramic crowns are also typically used for front teeth.
All Resin Composite Crowns
Composite crowns are the least expensive material used to make crowns. Composite crowns are made to match your natural teeth as well, simply enhancing your original smile. Composite crowns, however, wear down faster over time and are more prone to chip, crack, or fracture compared to crowns using stronger materials.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are used for temporary crowns and on pediatric patients. Because they are lower in cost, stainless steel crowns are used on baby teeth that will soon be lost. Adult patients that require crowns sent from a dental laboratory will typically be fitted with stainless steel crowns until the custom-made crowns are ready to be placed.
Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns
Porcelain fused to metal crowns are crowns made of a metallic material but feature a layer of porcelain so they look natural in your smile. These crowns are more cost-effective because of the metal base but they may not be recommended for patients who grind their teeth or suffer from receding gum lines.
There is potential for the porcelain to chip or crack, showing the metal underneath. The same issue can arise from receding gum lines. The base metal of porcelain fused to metal crowns can begin to show, which may be undesirable for some patients.
Gold crowns can definitely brighten your smile! Gold tooth crowns are typically made of a combination of gold, copper, and other metals. Some patients like the look of a gold crown, especially on back molars that give a little glint when they smile big. Gold crowns are more costly since real gold is used to make them, but they are long-lasting, durable, and highly bio-compatible to gums and surrounding teeth.
Metal Alloy Crowns
Metal alloy crowns are made from less precious metals like nickel, cobalt, or beryllium. These crowns are durable and strong which makes them long-lasting and resistant to corrosion. They are also compatible with other teeth in the mouth making them a comfortable choice for a crown. Metal crowns, however, do not blend well with the smile. So it depends on if you want visible crowns or not!
Dental Crown Procedure and Placement
Depending on the initial reason for visiting our clinic you may need a crown to cap a root canal or complete a decayed or damaged tooth. After the initial procedure, the dentist will prepare the original tooth by removing enough of the original tooth for a crown. This includes removing any part of the tooth that is damaged or diseased. The dentist will numb the tooth and gum tissue to make the procedure more comfortable. The amount of tooth removed will depend on the initial procedure.
Next, an impression will be made of the tooth to provide an exact model for the crown using digital scanners or putty. Depending on the material and type of crown we need to make, we can place the crown during the same appointment. If the permanent crown needs to be made at an outside lab, a temporary crown made of acrylic or stainless steel will be made and placed.
If you do receive a temporary crown, the tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold sensations. You should also avoid sticky foods and chewing gum.
Once the permanent crown is placed on the tooth, the dentist will make adjustments to ensure it fits with the surrounding teeth and doesn’t inhibit your bite. The dentist may shave down the sides or the top of the tooth to make it feel comfortable in your mouth. You will likely receive a local anesthetic to make the procedure more tolerable.
Dental Crown Care
Once the permanent crown is in place, you will need to take care of your teeth in order to ensure longevity. That means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and avoiding hard, sticky foods. By returning to the dentist for regular cleanings, you can help deter plaque buildup which will help your new crowns stay clean and last longer.
Brunelli Dental Partners
Our dentists are skilled in fitting crowns that help patients restore their smiles or enhance their bites. Crowns can be more than necessary for many different dental procedures. When you need a crown, you can trust us to give the best dental care available.
Think you need a crown?