Dental crowns are a common dental procedure that many people may need at some point in their lives. Whether it’s to protect a weakened tooth or to improve the appearance of a damaged tooth, dental crowns can provide a range of benefits. However, if you’re considering getting a dental crown, you may have some questions and concerns. In this article, we will answer some frequently asked questions about dental crowns to help you understand the procedure better and make an informed decision.
What are dental crowns?
Dental crowns, also known as caps, are dental restorations that are placed over a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. They completely encase the visible portion of the tooth above the gum line, providing protection and support.
Dental crowns can be made from various materials, including metal alloys, porcelain-fused-to-metal, all-ceramic or all-porcelain, and zirconia. Each material has its own advantages and considerations, and your dentist will help you choose the most suitable option based on your specific needs.
Why would I need a dental crown?
There are several reasons why your dentist may recommend a dental crown:
- To protect a weak tooth from further damage: If a tooth is weakened due to decay, a large filling, or root canal treatment, a dental crown can provide added strength and support.
- To restore a broken or severely worn-down tooth: Dental crowns can restore the shape, size, and function of a tooth that has been significantly damaged.
- To cover a dental implant: Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed in the jawbone. A dental crown is then attached to the implant to replace the missing tooth.
- To improve the appearance of a misshapen or discolored tooth: Dental crowns can be used to enhance the aesthetics of a tooth by changing its shape, size, and color.
- To hold a dental bridge in place: A dental bridge is a prosthetic device used to replace one or more missing teeth. Dental crowns are placed on the adjacent teeth to support and hold the bridge in place.
What is the procedure for getting a dental crown?
The process of getting a dental crown typically involves several steps:
- Initial consultation: During your first visit, your dentist will examine your tooth and discuss the treatment options with you. X-rays may be taken to assess the condition of the tooth and surrounding structures.
- Tooth preparation: To accommodate the dental crown, your dentist will need to reshape the tooth by removing a portion of its outer structure. This is done under local anesthesia to ensure your comfort.
- Impression: After the tooth is prepared, your dentist will take an impression of the tooth and the surrounding teeth. This impression will be used to create a custom-made dental crown that fits perfectly in your mouth.
- Temporary crown: While your permanent crown is being fabricated in a dental laboratory, your dentist will place a temporary crown over the prepared tooth to protect it.
- Crown placement: Once your permanent crown is ready, usually within a couple of weeks, you will return to the dental office for the final placement. Your dentist will remove the temporary crown and bond the permanent crown onto the tooth using a dental adhesive.
How long do dental crowns last?
The lifespan of a dental crown depends on various factors, including the material used, oral hygiene practices, and biting forces. On average, dental crowns can last between 10 and 15 years. However, with proper care and regular dental check-ups, they can last even longer.
To maximize the longevity of your dental crown, it’s important to:
- Maintain good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and prevent gum disease.
- Avoid chewing on hard objects: Dental crowns are strong, but they can still fracture or break if subjected to excessive force. Avoid biting on hard objects like ice, pens, or fingernails.
- Wear a mouthguard: If you participate in contact sports or grind your teeth at night, wearing a mouthguard can protect your dental crown from damage.
- Visit your dentist regularly: Regular dental check-ups allow your dentist to monitor the condition of your dental crown and address any issues before they become more significant problems.
Are there any risks or complications associated with dental crowns?
Like any dental procedure, dental crowns come with some risks and potential complications. However, these are relatively rare and can often be avoided with proper care and attention. Some possible risks include:
- Allergic reactions: In rare cases, a patient may have an allergic reaction to the materials used in the dental crown. If you have a known allergy, be sure to inform your dentist before the procedure.
- Tooth sensitivity: After getting a dental crown, you may experience temporary tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. This sensitivity usually subsides within a few weeks.
- Discomfort or pain: It is normal to experience some discomfort or sensitivity around the tooth after the anesthesia wears off. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate any pain or discomfort.
- Loose or dislodged crown: In rare cases, a dental crown may become loose or dislodged. If this happens, contact your dentist immediately for evaluation and possible re-cementation.
Dental crowns are versatile dental restorations that can provide both functional and aesthetic benefits. They are used to protect weakened teeth, restore damaged teeth, improve the appearance of misshapen or discolored teeth, and support dental bridges. The procedure for getting a dental crown involves tooth preparation, impression-taking, temporary crown placement, and final crown placement. With proper care and regular dental check-ups, dental crowns can last for many years. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and complications associated with dental crowns, although they are relatively rare.
If you have any concerns or questions about dental crowns, it’s best to consult with your dentist. They will be able to provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific dental needs.