Dental Crowns: Purpose, Procedure, Care
If your dentist has already suggested a crown for one or more of your teeth, he or she will have told you why it’s necessary. But just in case you can’t remember, or if your dentist didn’t explain it properly, here’s the information you need.
A crown is a shaped shell that covers the tooth. Yaletown Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry recommends crowns for the following reasons:
- Preventing weakened or cracked teeth from breaking.
- Repairing teeth that are broken or worn.
- To make it possible for you to have a filling in a tooth where much of the tooth is decayed.
- To provide a strong support for bridges that replace areas with missing teeth.
- Cosmetic improvement of teeth that spoil your appearance.
Types of Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are temporary crowns, Dentists use them to protect teeth while your crown in custom-made. Usually, its not necessary to crown milk teeth, but in the rare cases when it is, a temporary metal crown suffices. After all, the tooth will fall out before long.
Metallic crowns made from precious metals or other alloys are the strongest of all, but they do look rather obvious, so dentists will usually only recommend them for teeth that are ordinarily out of sight.
Some crowns combine metal and porcelain. The metal provides strength while the porcelain imparts a natural look. Unfortunately, the porcelain can chip exposing the underlying metal, so dentists only recommend these when the strength of a metal crown is needed on a tooth that is also important to your smile.
Resin crowns or acrylic crowns aren’t very strong. However, since your crown must first be prepared in a specialized laboratory and your tooth needs protection in the interim, they’re often used as temporary crowns.
All-porcelain crowns look much more like natural teeth than any other type of crown. Some people are allergic to the metals used in crowns, so that’s another reason to choose this option.
What’s the Procedure for Getting a Crown?
When your dentist spots a tooth that may require a crown, the first step is to x-ray the tooth and see whether decay or infection has spread inside the root of the tooth. If it has, you will need a root treatment procedure to clean out the inner part of the tooth so that it doesn’t continue to decay from the inside after being crowned.
Now, it’s time to begin the repair process. You may need a filling to prepare the tooth, and your dentist shapes the tooth so that it will be ready to receive the crown. Once he or she is satisfied that your tooth is ready for its crown, the dentist uses a special putty to take an impression of the tooth and the upper or lower teeth with which it must fit. Nowadays, digital scanners are also an option.
The impressions will now be sent to a laboratory that makes a unique crown to fit your tooth. Since you will have to wait a while to get this, the dentist will use acrylic material to make a temporary crown.
Once your crown is ready for you, you return to the dentist who will make sure that the crown fits properly before using a special adhesive to attach it to your tooth. If you take good care of your crown, it will be permanent.
Taking Care of Your Crowns
Unfortunately, nothing is quite as good as an intact tooth. That’s why dentists stress the importance of keeping your own teeth healthy for as long as possible. Now that you have crowns, your teeth aren’t as good as they were before, even though they may look as good as new. That means limiting the amount of hard work they must do.
Hard foods can break proper teeth, so you can be sure that they also have the potential to break crowns. The same goes for sticky things like the toffees that are notorious culprits for pulling out fillings and crowns. When flossing, be careful not to pull the floss upwards and avoid picking your teeth.
With just a little extra caution, your crowns can last for many years, or even a lifetime.