You’ve probably heard of dental crowns. With over 2.3 million dental crowns made in a year, crowns are the most common restorative dental procedure in America. But why are they so popular? What exactly are dental crowns, and who needs them? The experts at Artistic Smiles are here to explain.
What Is A Dental Crown?
A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that fits over a damaged or decaying tooth. Once cemented in place, the crown fully encapsulates the tooth, restoring its size, shape and appearance. They can be made from stainless steel, porcelain fused to metal, gold or other metal alloys, resin, or ceramic. A crown makes a tooth stronger while at the same time improving its appearance. They are a long-term investment, lasting between 5 and 15 years if properly cared for.
Why Get A Crown?
There are lots of reasons you might need a dental crown. For adults, crowns are used to protect a weak, worn down or damaged tooth, or even hold together the pieces of a cracked tooth. A crown may be used if you have a discolored or misshapen tooth, or a large cavity that is too big to fill or if the filling is so voluminous that there is little tooth left. Crowns can also be placed over root canal sites to protect the restored tooth, to hold a dental bridge in place, or to cover a dental implant. Children are sometimes given crowns on their primary (baby) teeth to save a badly decayed tooth or to protect against tooth decay in children with poor oral hygiene. In these cases, stainless steel crowns are usually used.
What Is The Procedure For Getting A Crown?
Getting a crown usually requires two office visits: one to examine and prepare the tooth, the second to place the permanent crown.
On your first visit, we take x-rays and review the imaging to determine if there is extensive decay or root involvement that would necessitate a root canal prior to crown placement. If not, we move on to preparing the tooth and creating the impression that will be used to craft your crown. To do this, we first numb the area using a local anesthetic, then remove any decay or features that will prevent the crown from fitting properly. Then we make an impression of the tooth to provide a model for your crown, using either a mold or digital scan. We then place a temporary crown made of acrylic to protect the prepared tooth while the crown is being made.
Because the temporary crown is only held on by a temporary cement, you need to be cautious. Your tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold, and you should avoid sticky or hard foods and chewing gum during this time.
Your second visit should occur less than two weeks after the first. On this visit, we remove the temporary crown and place the permanent one, making the necessary adjustments. Once you are happy with the placement of the crown, you are done!
Caring For A Crown
In order to keep your dental crown healthy, you need to care for it as you would your natural teeth. Crowns, like natural teeth and can break or crack. Furthermore, if bacteria can make their way under the crown, the underlying tooth can still get cavities. So, it is important that you maintain good oral hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day, avoid sticky foods or chewing hard objects such as ice cubes or pen nibs, and get regular dental exams and cleaning.
What Are Some Problems That Can Arise With Crowns?
As with any procedure, complications can arise with dental crowns. Issues such as discomfort or tooth sensitivity, chipped or loose crowns, or even the whole crown falling off are not unheard of. Luckily, these problems are usually easy to fix by changing the positioning of the crown. Make sure to contact us if you are experiencing any difficulties.
If you have a chipped, cracked, discolored or decaying tooth, you might benefit from the placement of a dental crown. If you think that you or a loved one might be a candidate for a crown, contact Artistic Smiles at 424 781-1400 to learn more.