Sip, spit, swallow, speak, chew and chomp are just a few of the things we all take for granted. When you have weak or failing teeth, even the basic daily tasks can seem unmanageable. Dental crowns are one of the easiest ways to repair broken teeth so you can move forward without worry, pain, or fear of losing your teeth.
Today, thousands of people are getting crowns put on their teeth, some to restore form and function and others for aesthetic purposes alone. It is one of the most common dental restoration procedures. The process is logical, straight-forward, and often essential for preserving teeth and mouth health. Louisville, Kentucky has the benefit of prosthodontic specialists who know how, when, and where dental crowns can be used to improve your smile.
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a cap that goes over a tooth. The crown can be the same shape, and size as the tooth or aesthetically corrected to improve your function and smile. A crown typically encases all parts of the tooth above the gum line to strengthen the tooth.
When dental crowns are cemented in place, they function like a regular tooth. You can bite, chew, and eat normally without worry. Dental crowns are categorized as a type of indirect dental restoration because they are fabricated outside of the mouth in our dental laboratory.
Material for Dental Crowns
Permanent crowns are available in many types. The material your prosthodontist uses depends on the location of the tooth, the position of gum tissue, visibility of the tooth, color, shape, and function. renew Institute in Louisville, KY will advise on which materials are best for you to create a natural look and a comfortable fit.
- Metals: Metal crowns are a strong option that rarely chip or break. They are generally an alloy of gold, platinum, or base-metal. The only problem with metal is that they don’t look like natural teeth. This makes them a good option for back-of-the-mouth molars, but not for visible teeth.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal: These types have a metal core on the inside with porcelain on the outside to match the color of the adjacent teeth to make them look more realistic. They are a good option for areas where the metal is needed for strength, but the porcelain is needed for the aesthetics. The downside to these, is that the porcelain covering can chip or break off.
- All-resin: This is the least expensive type of crown. Because they can wear down over time and are more prone to breaking, they are often only used as long term temporary restorations during healing or times of growth for younger patients.
- All-ceramic (or all porcelain): These are the most natural-looking crowns. They provide the best color and are the most aesthetic of the available materials. These crowns are not just cemented onto the teeth, but rather bonded to the tooth structure itself, which makes them stronger and less likely to come off due to the breakdown of the cement. They are also a great option for those with metal allergies.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are also different variations of dental crowns depending on what you need. The professionals at renew Institute in Louisville, KY are able to evaluate your individual needs and fit. Our number one goal is a dental restoration that ensures you look and function your best.
- Temporary vs. Permanent: Temporary crowns are often made in the dental office and serve as a placeholder until your permanent crown is fabricated and delivered. Permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory and take some time, so temporary are usually placed first.
- Onlays & Inlays: These do not cover the entire tooth, but only an upper portion of the tooth.
- ¾ Crown: Similar to an onlay, a ¾ crown is an alternative that doesn’t cover the entire tooth – it only covers 75%.
Why Is A Crown Needed?
The goal of a crown is to make the tooth stronger and look better. There are several reasons why teeth can break down and need a crown to strengthen them. Some of the most common reasons for using a crown as a dental restoration include:
- To replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
- Protecting a weak tooth from fracturing
- To restore a fractured tooth
- Attaching a bridge
- Covering a dental implant
- Covering a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Covering a tooth that has had root canal treatment
- Changing the overall look, shape, or color of your teeth
What’s The Difference Between A Crown And A Bridge?
Crowns cover and protect failing teeth. Bridges fill in gaps where one or more teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. Often times bridges and crowns may be used in conjunction with one another.
How Long Do Crowns Last?
Dental crowns are subject to wear and tear just like any other manufactured product. Generally, they will last around five to fifteen years. This is a wide range, and whether you’ll need to replace them after just five years or whether they’ll last for over a decade depends on numerous factors:
- Amount of “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to
- Oral hygiene
- Personal mouth-related habits like grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting fingernails, and using your teeth to open things
If you have habits that may lead to wear down of your crown, the prosthodontist may recommend other treatment to alleviate those habits and care for your dental crown.
Tooth Restoration Procedure Steps
Dental restoration of any kind usually takes two office visits to complete. The first visit is for examining and preparing the tooth and the second visit is when the prosthetic is actually placed.
At renew, we pride ourselves in avoiding the use of local anesthetic whenever possible. With our spectacular sedation support you can rest assured that no shots will be required and that your experience will be grand.
For those patients who choose not to take advantage of sedation dentistry, a local anesthetic is used to numb the tooth to provide comfort during the procedure.
Before a dental crown can be made, the tooth must be reduced in size so that the crown will fit over it properly. The tooth is prepared and shaped down to make it smaller and any decay is completely removed. If necessary, the prosthodontist may need to build the tooth up a little bit to increase support for the crown.
Next, the prosthodontist will create an impression that gives an exact mold for the crown. This may be done manually with silicone impression material or digitally with a scanner. Currently at renew Institute, we utilize the 3 Shape Trios scanner.
A temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth until the real crown is fabricated. It is important that this temporary crown remains in place to preserve the position of the tooth and the position of the other teeth surrounding it. You live with this temporary crown for a few weeks until the permanent one is ready.
The new crown is cemented or bonded in place. Once that cement is completely cured, you can use your crown the same way you’d use a normal, healthy, and strong tooth.
How to Care for Your Crown
Crowns are designed to last, but often times they will come loose, fall out, or need repair. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. You must care for your crown in the same way you’d care for your regular teeth.
This includes the basic dental care your dentist recommends:
- Brush and floss twice a day
- Avoid munching on hard foods like ice
- Schedule regular checkups
The Beauty of Crowns
Crowns give your teeth the shape, strength, functionality, and appearance you’ve always wanted. Dental crowns are important to restoring and maintaining the structural integrity of your mouth and bite.
The prosthodontists at renew Institute in Louisville, KY are experts when it comes to dental crowns. Don’t put it off any longer, smile with confidence and enjoy life pain-free with dental crowns from renew Institute.