Dental Crown

Northern Virginia Resource for Dental Crowns

When is a dental crown needed?

Dental Crowns are made to perform several important functions. They protect weak teeth, restore broken teeth, and prevent cracked teeth from breaking further, and support teeth that have large fillings. Variants of crowns are also used to hold dental bridges in place. The following are the most common reasons for Crown:

Large Filling: When a tooth has a cavity or fracture along with an existing large filling that involves half the width of the tooth or more, the leftover sound tooth structure is fragile and cannot support ever larger filling, a partial crown or a full crown can act in place of the tooth structure.

Root Canal: Fitting crowns over the root canal filled teeth is necessary because of the high risk of fracture without the extra protection. Another advantage of crowns is that they restore the natural appearance of your teeth.

Cracked Tooth Syndrome: Some teeth have cracks that are too small to show up on X-rays. Sometimes the cracks are under the gum. These small cracks are known as “cracked tooth syndrome.” Chewing produces stress on fracture lines that make the tooth feel like it is splitting apart. A crown will hold the tooth together and redistribute the stress evenly throughout the tooth, eliminating the pain in most instances.

Undesirable appearance of teeth: Teeth that have an unacceptable appearance due to color, shape, or spaces between teeth can be made to look very natural and beautiful with crowns. Dental veneers are a very effective and conservative way of enhancing the look of the front teeth. They can be made to look very natural, and sometimes they don’t even require preparing or shaving the existing teeth.

Implants: Crowns are placed on dental implants to restore spaces left from missing teeth. Another way of filling these spaces is with dental bridges, which are made from crowns on the teeth next to the spaces attached to fake teeth in the middle.

Fractured cusps: Fractured cusp is defined as a complete or incomplete fracture of the tooth. The extent and degree of the fractured cusp is variable. Since the cusps are the part of the tooth that takes the most stress during chewing, they need to be completely covered by crowns.

Excessive wear of teeth: If a person has a habit of grinding their teeth, the teeth will become shorter over time. The teeth can also wear away due to acid erosion caused by gastrointestinal acid reflux (GERD), bulimia, or an acidic diet. Sometimes, the enamel will wear away completely, leaving small, soft teeth. Over time, the bite can collapse and the only way of restoring the teeth to normal size is to cover them with crowns.

Dental Crown Procedure

A dental crown procedure usually requires two appointments. During the first appointment examining and preparing of the tooth is completed and a temporary crown is placed. In second visit about two weeks apart, the temporary is removed and the final crown is placed.

Examining and preparing the tooth:

At first, the initial x-rays will be taken to examine the health of the root and the surrounding bone. If there is any extensive decay or injury to the tooth or risk of infection, a root canal may be required. The dentist will numb the tooth and area around it to assure that your procedure is painless.

Next the tooth will be reshaped and prepared to make room for the new crown placement. If there isn’t enough of the tooth structure left to support the crown, a buildup material is used to create a solid foundation on which the crown would sit.

Next, we take the impression with a digital scanner. This helps to make sure that the new crown fits well with your other teeth. A temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and we will check your bite.

Temporary cement is used so that it can be easily removed during your second visit when the final crown is placed. Occasionally, the temporary crown could come off if you chew hard or due to any other reason. If this happens give us a call and we will get you in the next day and re-cement it. Remember we cannot use a strong cement because the temporary has to be removed later.

At your second appointment, your temporary crown will be removed, and the tooth will be cleaned. The new crown will be carefully placed with use of permanent cement. Once the crown is placed, the spacing and bites are adjusted so that they are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

Care for Temporary Dental Crown

We do not use permanent cement so at times temporary crown could easily come off. We suggest a few precautions to avoid this from happening:

  • Avoid sticky, chewy foods.
  • Minimize use of the side of your mouth with the temporary crown.
  • Avoid chewing hard foods.
  • Avoid chewing gum.
  • Avoid using dental floss around this tooth for few days.

Types of Crowns

Types of Crowns

Stainless Steel: For children, a stainless steel crown is commonly used to fit over a primary tooth that’s been prepared to fit it. The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it. In general, stainless steel crowns are used for children’s teeth because they don’t require multiple dental visits to put in place, thus they are also more cost-effective than custom made crowns.

Metals: Dental Crown is made of metals that may include alloys that have a high content of gold or platinum, or base-metal alloys. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. The metallic color is the main drawback.

Porcelain-Fused-To-Metal: PFM crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth. This crown provides a stronger bond than regular porcelain because it is connected to a metal structure. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth as well as long bridges where the metal is needed for strength.

All-Resin: Resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. Mostly used as temporary solution.

Ceramic: The crown is made of a porcelain-based material. They are aesthetically more pleasant and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. They are more popular for their ability to blend with your natural tooth color. Zirconia crowns are equally strong as metal crowns.

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What Problems Could Develop with a Dental Crown?

Discomfort or Sensitivity: Your newly crowned tooth may be sensitive immediately after the procedure. If the tooth that has been crowned still has a nerve in it, you may experience some heat and cold sensitivity.

Chipped crown: If your natural tooth can crack, crowns can too. Crowns made of all porcelain or porcelain fused to metal can sometimes chip. If the chip is small and not compromising the tooth structure then the crown can be polished, otherwise the crown will have to be replaced.

Loose crown: Sometimes the cement washes out or de-bonds from under the crown.

Crown falls off: Reasons include decaying of the underlying tooth and loosening of the cementing material used to place the crown.

Allergic reaction: Because the metals used to make crowns are usually a mixture of metals, an allergic reaction to the metals used in crowns can occur.

Dark line on crowned tooth next to the gum line: A dark line next to the gum line of your crowned tooth is normal with PFM crowns.

Are Dental Crowns Forever?

Are Dental Crowns Forever?

Dental crowns could last anywhere between five and fifteen years. The life of a crown depends on the “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to and other factors like the patient’s bite, chewing habits, grinding at night, clenching the jaw, etc. For best results with dental crowns, follow good oral hygiene practice and regular dental visits.