Dental crowns are tooth-shaped jackets that are placed over damaged teeth - like caps - to restore their shape, size, appearance, and strength. They enclose the entire visible portion of teeth present above the gum line. You may require a crown for:
- Protecting weak teeth (decayed or damaged) from cracking or breaking.
- Restoring broken teeth that have suffered trauma.
- Covering and supporting teeth with large fillings when there is not much tooth structure left.
- Holding a dental bridge in place. Dental bridges consist of crowns attached to either one or both sides of the pontic. These crowns are placed on the teeth adjacent to the gap and provide for strong anchoring.
- Covering discolored or stained teeth to improve their aesthetic appeal.
- Restoring missing teeth by covering dental implants.
- Covering baby teeth in children to:
- 1. Save teeth inflicted with large decays that cannot be restored with fillings.
- 2. Protect teeth from the potential risks of decay, cavities, and caries when it is difficult to manage good oral care.
What are the different types of crowns?
There are many types of crowns and the most important ones have been listed below.
1. Stainless steel crowns
Stainless steel crowns are the prefabricated crowns that are used as a replacement for custom designed permanent crowns. They are used for protecting prepared teeth during the healing period while a permanent prosthetic is being designed in a dental lab.
For children, stainless steel crowns are used to cover baby teeth with large decays, which cannot be saved with fillings. They protect the baby teeth from further decay and fall out naturally with the baby teeth in order to make room for the permanent teeth.
2. Metal crowns
Metal crowns are made from alloys of gold, platinum, cobalt, chromium, or nickel. They are extremely strong, durable, and easily withstand the biting and chewing forces of back teeth. They almost never chip or break and last a lifetime. Metal crowns are generally used to restore molars and other back teeth.
3. All-resin crowns
All-resin crowns are completely made of composite resin and are tooth-colored. They are cosmetically appealing and can be easily color-matched to look like natural teeth. They are used to restore front teeth - the social six.
4. All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns
All-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns are the best choices for cosmetic enhancements. They are the best suited for situations in which a patient is not only looking for a dental restoration but also improving the aesthetic appeal of their smile.
5. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are color-matched to look like natural teeth and blend in really well with the surrounding teeth. They not only have a cosmetic appeal but are also strong and durable. The metal present in these crowns makes them capable of withstanding the pressure imposed by chewing and biting. This dual advantage makes them an ideal choice for restoring both front and back teeth.
How are crowns placed?
Crown placement is easy and requires two visits to the dentist's office. Below is a step-by-step guide to the placement of dental crowns.
First visit: Examining and preparing the tooth
The damaged tooth is examined using X-rays to determine the extent of decay or damage. If the tooth has enough structure left and the decay has not reached the roots, the dentist proceeds to the next step. If the decay has reached the roots, a root canal treatment is performed before moving to the next step.
The damaged tooth and its surrounding area are numbed using a local anesthetic. It keeps you from experiencing pain or discomfort during the procedure.
In the case of decay, a dental drill is used to remove decay from the tooth. Next, the tooth is filed down to make room for the crown. On the other hand, if a lot of tooth structure is missing due to decay or damage, a filling is used to build up the tooth so it can support the crown.
Impressions of teeth are obtained and sent to a dental laboratory along with the shade that matches the color of your natural teeth. Using the impressions, the dental lab custom designs a permanent crown. It is done in a manner to match the shape, size, and shade of your natural teeth.
The crown is usually returned to your dentist's office in two to three weeks.
A temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth to protect it from breaking or cracking.
Second visit: Receiving the permanent dental crown
During the second visit, the temporary crown is removed and the prepared site is flushed with antimicrobials and disinfectants to remove any trace of remaining debris. It also prevents future bacterial infestation.
The permanent crown is examined for its fit and shade and if everything is acceptable, it is permanently cemented in place.
At Jones and Hindbaugh Dental, the art and technology of modern dentistry are tactfully employed to systematically restore the damage and improve the cosmetic appeal of your smile. Dr. Erica Hindbaugh Jones' and Dr. Russel Jones specialize in creating a coordinated treatment plan to give you a complete smile makeover. Book an appointment with us today for a more youthful and healthy smile.