A dental crown can restore the shape and function of a damaged or decayed tooth. It can also improve the aesthetics and thanks to advances in modern dentistry, the dental crown procedure is a fairly efficient process. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect.
What Is A Dental Crown?
Dental crowns or caps are coverings that are fitted over teeth that are badly damaged or decayed. They are used in instances when the damage is too large for a filling or restoration to cover up. They can also be used to restore or reinforce a tooth or to address aesthetics such as stained or discoloured teeth, or unusually shaped teeth.
When Are Dental Crowns Recommended?
Your dentist may recommend a crown or cap if:
- Your teeth are cracked, chipped or damaged by decay
- Your teeth are discoloured or stained, particularly if the discolouration does not respond to whitening
- You have had a root canal treatment and the saved tooth’s surface area was significantly diminished as a result of decay
- You grind your teeth or you have a misaligned bite
What Can You Expect From The Dental Crown Procedure?
The dental crown procedure is usually carried out over at least two or three sessions. During your first session your dentist will inspect your mouth and teeth to assess if you need a dental crown. This consultation is very likely to involve x-rays. Your dentist will need to check that the structure of your tooth can support a crown before moving forward with treatment.
At your next consultation your dentist will need to remove a small amount of tooth enamel. This is so that the cap can fit comfortably into your mouth and that your restored tooth is the same size as the other teeth in your mouth.
Once part of the tooth has been removed, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth. The impression will be sent off to the dental laboratory so that the tooth can be made. Your dentist will match the shade of the crown to the other teeth in your mouth. Depending on where the damaged tooth is and your reason for needing the crown, your dentist may even attach a temporary crown until your final crown is ready. If you do have a temporary crown you want to avoid eating very sticky or hard foods.
Once the laboratory has created it, you will return to your dentist to have it fitted. Your dentist will affix it using dental cement so it is strong. Once the procedure is complete your restored tooth should feel, look and function just like the other teeth in your mouth. That means you should be able to apply the same amount of force when biting and chewing. Remember though that the crown material will not respond to whitening treatments so it does need good dental care.
Are Dental Crowns Painful?
Your dentist will perform the crown procedure under local anaesthetic to minimise any pain or discomfort. Most procedures are efficient and should not cause pain. If you do feel pain afterwards you should discuss it with your dentist.
What Are The Benefits Of Dental Crowns?
Make Teeth Stronger
Crowns and caps can strengthen and restore a tooth to full function. They are especially useful on teeth that have broken, chipped, fractured or cracked as they offer protection.
Improve The Aesthetics Of A Tooth
Caps can be used on teeth that have discoloured or are misshapen.
How Long Do Crowns Last?
With good care dental crowns can last for many years. Your dental crown should be looked after in the same way as the other teeth in your mouth. But, if you needed the crown because of tooth decay, your dental hygiene routine may need some improvement.
As time goes on, it is possible for a dental crown to fall off. This can happen over time, if the cement weakens or if the tooth holding it continues to decay. When you attend your regular dental check ups your dentist will have a look at your crowns to ensure they are still firmly attached.
What Materials Are Used For Caps?
Generally there are four types of materials used for dental crowns: porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, base metal and gold alloys. Even though most dentists will have a professional preference you will be able to discuss the most appropriate material for your needs and budget with your dentist.
Do you have any questions or concerns about your dental crown procedure? It’s always best to speak to a professional. Please contact us for an appointment: (02) 8203 8760.