Dental crowns are protective restorations that blend in when you smile. Each one is especially shaded to match your surrounding teeth. Depending on what your smile has gone through, we might use crowns to restore your bite or to enhance your overall aesthetics.
What are Dental Crowns?
A crown is a full-coverage restoration that encompasses the entire tooth up to the gumlines. Some people also call them “caps” since they’re similar to a small helmet or hat that slips over the tooth.
Crowns distribute biting pressure evenly across the entire tooth, preserving the brittle or compromised structures underneath. Unlike fillings (which are placed inside of smaller cavities), crowns work to preserve the overall integrity of areas with more moderate to severe structural needs.
Do I Need a Dental Crown?
You may need a dental crown if:
- You recently had root canal treatment
- There is a large fracture or crack in your tooth
- A large filling is leaky or fell out
- Aggressive decay has taken over more than half of your tooth
- There is extensive wear or erosion
- You’re restoring a single dental implant
Even if we suspect that the tooth will need a crown, it’s important to take an X-ray to assess any damage that’s not visible to the naked eye. We need to ensure that the nerve is still healthy, otherwise a crown will trap bacteria inside of the pulp tissues and could lead to additional concerns.
Repairing and reinforcing your tooth allows your bite to continue functioning normally. Without one, your tooth may continue to deteriorate. In turn, this scenario can lead to irregular biting patterns (from chewing on other teeth) and evolve into premature wear or TMJ problems.
What to Expect During Treatment
Most crown treatments take about two visits to complete, since the restoration is usually made by a lab. During the first appointment, we’ll numb your tooth then remove all of the damaged areas, prepping it to make room for a crown to slip over the top. Then we’ll take an impression (to send to the lab) and place a temporary crown over the tooth while you wait.
About two weeks later, your permanent crown will be ready to place. We’ll make sure everything fits properly, then use a special bonding agent to adhere the restoration permanently to your tooth.
It’s our top priority to keep you as comfortable as possible during every procedure. In addition to ensuring your tooth is desensitized, you may also be able to choose between a variety of sedation options to help you relax! Something as light as nitrous oxide is quick and effective, without any lingering side-effects.
What are Dental Crowns Made Of?
The majority of modern crowns are crafted out of durable ceramics, porcelains, or zirconia. These materials can be matched to the natural shade of your tooth, allowing the final restoration to blend in with your smile.
Some types of crowns are porcelain, fused to a metal base. However, these are becoming less common as ceramic materials become more advanced.
Occasionally gold is still used for crowns, especially on teeth that aren’t visible when you smile and talk. Gold is a bit more pliable, making it excellent for high-pressure areas like the back teeth.
Putting Crowns Over Dental Implants
In addition to restoring broken teeth, we also use crowns to top off dental implants if you’re replacing a missing tooth. Since dental implants are the “root” portion of your tooth replacement, you’ll need a fixed restoration over the implant abutment to complete the restoration process. An individual ceramic crown is the perfect option!
Daily Care and Maintenance of Your New Crown
Ceramics and other crown materials don’t decay. But the tooth underneath can, if the edges around your crown aren’t cleaned properly. It’s extremely important that you brush and floss your teeth daily. A lot of the time people are concerned that flossing will cause their crown to fall out. However, it’s not flossing you should be concerned with! If you need advice on how to safely and effectively floss around your dental work, we can show you how during your checkup.
Crowns are durable, but not invincible. Take care not to use your teeth to open things or chew particularly hard items. If you have a tendency to clench or grind, you may want to consider investing in a nightguard.