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A dental crown refers to a tooth-shaped cap that is used to cover the tooth to help it restore its initial size, shape, strength, and enhance its appearance. When the dental crown is placed over the tooth and well cemented into place, it encloses the entire visible portion of the tooth.
Why Is a Dental Crown Needed?
A dental crown may be needed for the following reasons:
- To make a cosmetic modification
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover a dental implant
- To restore a broken tooth or tooth that has completely worn out
- To cover a misshaped or discolored tooth
- To protect a weak tooth from decaying/breaking or to hold parts of a cracked tooth
- To support and cover a tooth with a large filling where there isn’t a lot of natural teeth left
For children, a dental crown may be needed on the primary teeth to:
- Help support a damaged tooth that can’t be supported by filling.
- Protect a child’s tooth at a high risk of decay, especially when the child is not keeping up with daily oral hygiene.
- To decrease the frequency of general anesthesia for children.
What Types of Crowns Are Available?
Dental crowns are made from materials such as metal, stainless steel, and all-ceramic, all resin, and porcelain-fused-to-metal
Stainless Steel Crowns
Dental crowns made of stainless steel are fabricated crowns used on permanent teeth specifically as a temporary measure for preventing tooth decay. The dental crown protects the filling or tooth while a permanent crown is made from another material. For children, a stainless-steel dental crown is primarily used to fit over a primary tooth that’s prepared to fit into it.
The dental crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When it’s time for the primary tooth to come out and make room for the permanent tooth, the dental crown naturally comes out with it. Stainless steel is used for children because they don’t require frequent dental visits to put in place and are more cost-efficient compared to other types of dental crowns used for dental care.
Metallic Dental Crowns
The metals used in dental crowns include alloys that have a high content of platinum, gold, or base-metal alloys. Metallic dental crowns withstand chewing and biting forces well and last longer, especially in terms of wear and tear. One of the advantages of using metallic dental crowns is that they rarely break. They are the best choice for out-of-sight molars.
Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Dental Crowns
These are dental crowns that can be color-matched to your adjacent teeth. Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns look more like normal teeth. They are the best choice for front or back teeth. However, with this type of dental crown, you’re more prone to wear compared to the other types.
All-Resin Dental Crowns
The all-resin dental crowns are less expensive than the other types. However, they are also more prone to fractures and wear over time compared to the other types of dental crowns.
All-ceramic or All-porcelain Dental Crowns
The all-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide a better natural color match than the other materials and are more suitable for people with metal allergies. They are best suited for front and back teeth.
What Steps Are Involved in Preparing a Tooth for a Crown?
When you’re expecting a dental crown, you’ll require two visits to the dentist. The first visit involves examining and preparing the tooth, while the second visit involves the permanent placement of the dental crown.
First Visit: Examining and Preparing the Tooth
At the first dental visit, the dentist will take a few X-rays to check the roots of the tooth receiving the dental crown. If the tooth is decayed or has a high risk of injury or infection, a root canal treatment may first be performed.
Before the crown-making process begins, the tooth is reshaped along with the surrounding gum tissue to make room for the dental crown. The amount of space needed depends on the type of crown that will be used. After the reshaping process, your dentist will use putty or paste to make an impression of the tooth.
Second Visit: Receiving the Permanent Dental Crown
During your second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and check the color and fit of the permanent one. Once everything is in order, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area and the new crown will be permanently cemented in place.
How Should I Care for My Temporary Dental Crown?
Because temporary dental crowns are just a placeholder for when the permanent crown is ready, dentists recommend the following precautionary measures.
- Avoid chewy, sticky foods (caramel or chewing gum) that have the potential of pulling off the dental crown.
- Concentrate the bulk of your chewing to the opposite side of your mouth
- Avoid chewing hard foods (like raw vegetables), which can break down the dental crown.
- Slide dental floss when cleaning between your teeth to avoid the pulling off of the temporary dental crown.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
On average, dental crowns may last between five to 15 years. However, the lifespan depends on many factors such as:
- The amount of wear and tear the dental crown is exposed to
- How well you follow good dental oral hygienic practices
- Your mouth-related habits (avoid habits like biting fingernails, chewing ice, using teeth to open bottle cap or packages, etc.)
How Much Do Crowns Cost?
The cost of a dental crown varies depending on the country you reside in and the type of dental crown you wish to use. Generally, the price of a dental crown ranges from $800 to $1700 or more per crown before insurance.
Contact us for more information if you’re curious about dental crowns. At Westerville Dental Associates, we care about your oral health and are available to answer any of your questions.