DENTAL CROWNS AT SYDNEY DENTIST CLINIC
When damage occurs to a tooth, you may need to have a procedure done known as a crown. This crown is shaped like a tooth and is placed over your original tooth. It helps to return the tooth to its original shape and size, and helps to improve the appearance and strength of the tooth. Crowns are cemented into place, fully covering the original tooth, and are situated near the gum line.
WHAT CAUSES A CROWN TO BE NECESSARY?
A crown can be beneficial is many situations, particularly the following:
- Restoring a tooth that is broken or worn down
- Holding together a cracked tooth, and/or preventing a weak tooth from further damage
- Holding a dental bridge in its place
- Providing protection and support to a tooth that has a large filling and not much original tooth
- Covering a dental implant
- Covering discoloured or misshaped teeth
ARE THERE ANY POTENTIAL RISKS WITH DENTAL CROWNS?
Strong healthy pulp is necessary to hold a crown in position. If the decay is too close to the pulp, other measures may need to be taken, including removal of the pulp by an endodontist or dentist. In severe cases, an oral surgeon may need to remove the entire root of the tooth.
In addition, individuals who have other health conditions that cause their bodies to inadequately fight off bacteria growth may be required to take antibiotics both before and after dental surgery. This is because some dental procedures can cause bacteria to move into the bloodstream. Individuals that could be at risk include those who:
- Have congenital heart defects
- Have artificial heart valves or damaged to heart valves
- Have cirrhosis, also known as liver disease
- Have poor functioning immune systems
- Have had bacterial endocarditis
- Have artificial hips or other joints
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE DENTAL CROWNS?
In most cases, a crown will work as well as a normal, healthy tooth. However, there are instances where over time a crown can become loose, and may need to be cemented into place again, or completely replaced. If the original tooth decay was near the centre of the tooth, it could cause bacteria to build up in the pulp. When this occurs, the crown may need removed and a root canal will be conducted. This will eliminate the growth of bacteria and remove the damaged pulp.
WHAT TYPES OF MATERIALS ARE USED FOR CROWNS?
Ceramic or Porcelain – A crown that is all ceramic or all porcelain will match to your natural colour of your teeth the best, and look the most natural. They are particularly beneficial in patients who have metal allergies, as well as for a front tooth crown. On the downside, they are not as durable as a metal crown that has porcelain fused to it, and tend to wear down teeth that push against it.
Metal Crown with Porcelain fused to it – A metal crown fused with porcelain is a great option, especially for matching tooth colour. These types of crowns, however, can wear down other teeth that push up against it quicker than a full metal or resin crown. In addition, the porcelain can sometimes break off or chip, requiring repairs or replacements to be necessary. Although this type of crown is second-best when it comes to looking like a real tooth, the metal underneath can show through. It will appear as a dark line at the base of the tooth, especially if you have a receding gum line. With that in mind, this type of crown is most often used for back teeth.
Metal Crowns – There are several different types of metals used for crowns. This includes gold alloy, palladium, nickel, and chromium. With a metal crown, less of the original tooth needs to be removed, and teeth that push against the metal crown are less likely to wear down. Due to their construction, metal crowns are more durable, having the ability to chew and bite without damage for longer periods of time. The biggest drawback to a metal crown is the colour, which is what makes them an optimal choice for molars that cannot be seen.
Resin Crowns – The least expensive type of crown available is a resin crown. Unfortunately, they are the least durable, and can break, chip, crack, and wear down more easily than other types of crowns.
Temporary and Permanent – Permanent crowns need to be manufactured by a dental laboratory. During the waiting time for a permanent crown, temporary crowns are often put in place. This type of crown can be made right in the dentist's office, and is typically comprised of stainless steel or acrylic.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR HAVING A CROWN PUT IN PLACE?
It is important that you understand how the crown process works, which will begin with two visits. During the first visit, the tooth receiving the crown will be examined and prepared for the crown. The second visit is where the permanent crown will be put into place and cemented.
Examination and Preparation – During the examination and preparation stage of the crown process, your dentist will likely take x-rays to see how healthy the roots of the tooth are, as well as the bone surrounding the tooth, which is important for holding the crown in place. If there is excessive decay or you are at risk for developing an infection, your dentist may conduct a root canal prior to installing the crown.
- A local anesthetic will be used to numb the tooth completely, as well as your tongue, gums, and skin near the tooth that is being worked on.
- The tooth will be filed down so that the crown will fit over the top, and the amount of original tooth removed will be based upon the type of crown chosen. A porcelain crown will require more tooth filing than a metal crown.
- During this time, it may be necessary to use filling material to make the tooth large enough for the crown to hold the crown. This is only necessary if there is a large amount of decay and little tooth left.
- Once the tooth is reshaped, impression paste will be used to make a mold of the tooth, so that the crown can be prepared. To avoid negative impact on the teeth above and beside the crown, impressions will be made of the upper and lower teeth.
- The impressions will be sent to a dental laboratory, which is where the permanent crown will be manufactured. In most cases, this will take about 2 to 3 weeks.
- Your dentist will place a temporary crown in place during this visit to protect the tooth that has been prepared to receive the permanent crown. These are typically made from acrylic and held in place with temporary cement.
Permanent Dental Crown – The next visit you attend will be to place the permanent crown into position and have it cemented. A dry-fit will be conducted to make sure that the crown will fit once it is cemented, and the colour will be checked to ensure it matches your other teeth. The dentist will use a local anesthetic, similar to the first visit, and will then cement the permanent crown into place. You will be required to bite down on a piece of carbon paper to check for high spots. The dentist will polish and reshape the crown to ensure a tight fit to your tooth.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CROWN IS PUT IN PLACE?
You may experience numbness in your lips, gums, and teeth for a few hours following the procedure. Once the anesthetic wears off you will be able to chew normally again. It is recommended that you do not eat anything until the anesthetic wears off, so that you do not inadvertently bite down on your lip, cheek, or tongue, causing injury to your mouth.
HOW OFTEN DO CROWNS NEED REPLACED?
In most instances, a permanent dental crown will last for a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 15 years. The more your tooth is exposed to wear and tear, the less time it will last. In addition, grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, biting your fingernails, chewing on hard foods, such as ice, and using your teeth for activities besides eating, can cause damage to the crown, making it wear down sooner. Furthermore, practicing good dental hygiene will help the crown last longer, so be sure to brush and floss regularly.
IS ANY SPECIAL CARE REQUIRED FOR A CROWN?
There is no special care required once a permanent crown is installed. With that said, the tooth underneath the crown is still susceptible to developing further decay and gum disease. You need to maintain proper dental hygiene by brushing your teeth two times per day and flossing, paying special attention to the gums around the crown.