Dental Crowns FAQ

What are dental crowns?

Dental crowns are cap-like structures crafted from a wide range of materials to enhance the aesthetic appearance of misshaped teeth. Unlike dental implants, crowns do not replace or alter the root of the tooth. Crowns primarily encase a damaged tooth starting at the surface of the gum to restore its healthy shape and size.

When are dental crowns necessary?

Dental crowns are often recommended in the following cases:

Case 1: To keep chipped and broken teeth intact from further breaking

Case 2: To protect teeth from decay

Case 3: To restore a tooth that has been significantly dissolved or misshaped

Case 4: To encase a tooth that has been discolored

Case 5: To  cover a large filling after a root canal treatment

What type of crowns are there?

Material 1: Metals

Metal crown options consist of gold alloy, palladium, nickel or chromium. In contrast to the properties of alternative crown options, metal is considered relatively durable and requires fewer amounts of tooth structure to be carved out. Metal crowns resist pressure applied by the natural activity of chewing and biting. The wear down of metal crowns occurs at a much slower rate than alternative options. As for their effects on adjacent teeth, metal crowns are considered relatively safe. Minimal tooth wear may occur to neighbour teeth. Metal crowns fall short in their visible appearance. They are ideal for encasing out-of-sight morals.

Material 2: Metal infused porcelain crowns

Metal infused porcelain crowns are a practical alternative that resides between all-metal and all-porcelain crowns acquiring a mixture of benefits from either material.  Unlike metals, metal-infused porcelain can be color-matched to natural teeth. However, unlike metal, this category of dental crowns is prone to wear in comparison to the durability of the all-metal crowns. In terms of authenticity, ceramic-infused crowns are second only to all-porcelain.

The metal could become prominent at the intersection of the crown and the gums, somewhere between the meeting point of the crown and the gum, there may be a visible silver line that circulates the crown. Apparent. The metal-infused porcelain crowns are ideal for front or back teeth replacement.

Material 3: All-resin

Considering financial factors, all-resin crowns are ideal from the perspective. All-resin dental crowns serve for minimalistic functions such as supporting and preserving teeth; however, the prices and features compromise entirely on the quality and aesthetic appeal. They are far more likely to be prone to wear downs and fractures.

Material 4: Ceramic or porcelain crowns

Aesthetics wise, porcelain and ceramic are considered top tier and are recommended equally on the front and out-of-site teeth. Durability and strength-wise, porcelain and ceramic crowns come second to metal-infused porcelain. However, in terms of possible allergic reactions, porcelain or ceramic, crowns are a safe option for patients with metal allergies. Owing to the properties of all-ceramic and all-porcelain crowns, the crowns provide unprecedented authenticity. Unlike metal and all-resin crowns, porcelain and ceramic crowns induce slightly more damage on neighbor teeth.

Material 5: Temporary crowns

Temporary crowns are not a long term solution; they are often placed as a quick-fix solution until permanent crowns are ready for use. Temporary crowns are crafted on-premises at the dentist’s office from stainless steel or acrylic. Permanent crowns, on the other hand, are designed in off-site laboratories and take a few days to be ready.

How long does it take to prepare for a dental crown?

The entire process of placing dental crowns can be covered, usually, in two steps and visits.

Step 1: Examining and designing the crown:

During the first visit, most of the studying will take place. An X-ray will be required from the patient to examine the condition of the affected tooth, in terms of cavity progression, the presence of possible pulp infection, and the state of the surrounding bone. Incase, the decay is extensive, or the pulp of the tooth is infected or injured,  a root canal treatment must precede crown placement. Otherwise, preparations for the crown ensue.

The process is started by the application of the local anesthetic. The dentist will numb the treated area, gum, and tissue surrounding the target. The treated tooth is then filed down to remove some tooth structure to place the crown. How much tooth is filed out, depends entirely on the material of crowns opted for. Generally, all-resin and metal crowns tend to be thinner in the layer, hence, will require minimal amounts of tooth to be carved out for placement. On the other hand, all-porcelain and porcelain fused metal crowns are considerably thicker in structure and will require carving out more of the tooth for placement.

Other times, the patient could be missing more tooth area and structure that is necessary to hold a crown. In that case, filling materials are used to elevate the structure of the tooth to the necessary measurements for crown application.

Once the tooth is re-shaped in accordance with the required measurements, the dentist will apply a paste-like material to make an accurate impression of the tooth to receive the dental crown. The mold created will help patients receive the ideal crown that will facilitate their oral functions. Depending on the crown material the patient opts for, the dentist will begin the color-matching process to find the ideal shade that blends with the patient’s natural teeth.

The impressions and shade of the crown are sent to an off-site dental laboratory, and the crown will be manufactured in a few weeks. On average crowns are often ready and delivered back to the dentist after 2 to 3 weeks. To protect the work and progress achieved in the first visit, the dentist will craft a temporary crown to prevent the alteration of the prepared tooth. The temporary acrylic crown is held in place using a temporary cement.

Step 2: Placement of the permanent dental crown

During the second visit, the dentist will first remove the temporary crown, and then check the condition of the tooth. The crown will be tested in terms of fit and color, and if all is according to plan, the process of permanently cementing the crown into place begins.

Caring for your temporary dental crowns

Temporary crowns are quick-fix crowns that can be crafted on-premises within minutes, to serve for the purpose of protecting the preparations achieved in the first visit. Until the crown is manufactured and placed in two to three week’s time, patients have to care for the temporary dental crowns. Here are some of the steps that should be considered:

1 Avoid foods that cause a pulling force on teeth, chewy foods such as chewing gum and caramel. Sticky foods have the ability to grasp on the crown unit and pulling it off.

 

2 It is preferred not to use the treated side for mechanical effort, rely on the other side of the mouth for chewing.

 

3 Abstain from consuming hard foods, such as carrots and other raw vegetables, as the prospects of the foods dislocating or breaking the crow are really high.

 

4 When flossing, implement a linear flossing pattern, where the floss is slid sideways repetitively instead of horizontal movements. The up and down movement of flossing could gravely impact could possibly dislocate and pull the crown out.

What complications could arise with dental crowns? And how should I deal with them?

A few problems could occur after the initial placement could arise; here is how to deal with the most prevalent problems.

1– Sensitivity

The discomfort of sensitivity is an issue prevalent with crowns that have been placed on an intact root with healthy nerves. Teeth with nerves will often display sensitivity to extreme temperatures such as cold and hot stimulations. Sensitivity will first become apparent as the effect of the anesthesia wears off. To resolve this dilemma, the dentist will most likely recommend the patient uses toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

While sensitivity is a normal aspect, pain is not. Particularly pain that occurs when chewing, as it often signifies the crown is too high and is not an accurate fit. In that case, contact the dentist immediately to have the issue resolved and the crown re-designed.

2– Crown chipping

Chipping often occurs in porcelain and ceramic crowns than alternative materials. However, in case it occurs, two possibilities are considered. The first possibility is related to small chipping, or chipping that does not penetrate further than the surface, in that case, the composite resin is used to repair the chipping while the crown is placed in the mouth. Otherwise, if the chipping is extensive, the entire crown will need to be replaced.

3– Loose crowns

Crowns become lose when the adhesive cement wears out over time. It is a matter that should not be taken lightly because the cement dissolving creates open spaces that are a perfect niche for bacterial proliferation leading to cavities. Therefore, it is advisable to seek professional help when the problem first arises.

4 – Crown is entirely removed

Crowns can often fall off when the cement significantly dissolves to the point where it offers no adhesion to hold the crown in place. In case this occurs, do not attempt to push the crown in place. Wash the dislodged crown and clean the area with water. Over-the-counter adhesives for crowns are often sold separately, apply the adhesive on the crown and place the crown back as a temporary solution. Seek professional help after to have the crown taken care of and correctly placed. In some instances, the crown may never be able to be placed back in, in which case, a new crown will be re-designed.

5– Allergies and allergic reactions

Allergies from the crowns are a possibility in porcelain crowns and metal crowns that are a mixture of various metals. Although rare, seek professional help as soon as symptoms emerge. In most cases, the material of the crown will be replaced.

6Appearance of dark pigment surrounding the gum line

Dark lines surround a crown at the surface of intersection between crown and gum is relatively normal in some crowns over others. Metal fused porcelain tend to have a visible lining outlining the crown.

How long do dental crowns last

Dental crowns can last anywhere between 5 to 15 years. Many factors come to play when evaluating the average life expectancy of a crown. The material used and its inherent resistance to wearing down, the wear and tear the crowns are exposed to, exposure to mechanical pressure from clenching habits and nail-biting, and the personal dental hygiene practiced.

Do crowned teeth require a special routine

A common misconception around crowns is that since the crown is initially made of metals and not bone, it is not susceptible to decay. While that is true, it is crucial to remember that the gum and remaining tissue structure encased by the crown, is prone to cavities, gum disease, and decay. It is very essential to practice decent oral hygiene to preserve the structure of the crown and increase its life span. Brush the crown and teeth twice a day, use saline solution to gargle, and floss in a horizontal manner according to safe guides once a day.

 

Contact Vera Clinic

For further enquiries contact the Vera Clinic and a medical specialist will get in touch with you ASAP to address all your concerns.

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