In certain treatment cases, a dentist might find that one or more teeth need restorative work. If this work is required to correct the appearance, strength, size, or shape of the tooth, he or she may recommend a crown be used. The crown serves as a cap that is shaped like a tooth and is positioned over the natural tooth.
Once the crown has been cemented in place, it completely encases the visible portion of the tooth above the gum line. Patients often wonder if and when a dental crown is needed and what the benefits are of selecting this treatment option.
When Are Dental Crowns Recommended?
Dentists recommend crowns when a patient has a tooth that has weakened as a result of decay or when the tooth has cracked and needs to be held together. Teeth that have worn down over time and those that are broken can benefit from the use of a crown, and dentists use crowns to cover dental implants or hold a bridge in the correct location.
Cosmetic modifications often involve the use of crowns, and a crown may be employed to cover a tooth that is severely discolored or one that is misshapen and won’t benefit from the use of veneers.
Dental Crown Options
Patients may find they have numerous options when it comes to dental crowns. Stainless steel is one option and is often used for a temporary crown or the primary teeth of children. Metal crowns, such as those made from alloys, require less of the natural tooth to be removed for placement of the crown and are incredibly durable. Porcelain crowns that are fused to metal can be matched to adjacent teeth in terms of the shade.
Other options include all-ceramic or all-porcelain crowns, all-resin crowns, and milled or Zirconia crowns. Many patients opt for ceramic or porcelain crowns, as they appear the most natural. The all-resin versions are cost-effective, yet can be prone to wear and fractures. Zirconia or milled crowns require no impressions to be made and can allow the crown to be produced immediately, eliminating the need for a temporary crown.
How A Crown Is Placed
Typically, two appointments are needed for a crown. The first visit involves the preparation of the tooth. The dentist numbs the tooth and files it down to make space for a crown or builds it up if the tooth has significant decay. An impression of the tooth is made to ensure the patient’s bite won’t be impacted. This impression is then sent to the dental lab for the crown to be made, and a temporary crown is installed until the permanent crown is ready.
During the second visit, the permanent crown is checked to ensure it is the proper shape, size, and color. Once this has been done, the dentist may numb the patient to ensure there is no discomfort. After this has been done, the new crown will be installed and permanently placed with special cement.
The Life Span Of A Crown
Crowns generally last approximately five to 15 years. This depends on wear and tear on the crown, oral hygiene, and more. Individuals must remember that the tooth is still prone to decay and brushing and flossing remain of great importance. Activities such as grinding of the teeth, biting fingernails, and chewing ice can all impact the lifespan of the crown.
Only a dental professional can determine when a crown is an optimal solution. He or she considers numerous factors when making this decision, as other treatment options are available. If you have one or more teeth you feel may benefit from a crown, call us today. Our team would be happy to exam your teeth and gums and work with you to create a healthy smile. We want to help you achieve your goals when it comes to oral health and will partner with you to discover the treatment options that make the most sense.
If you have any questions regarding crown services at our Washington DC office, call the Washington Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry at 202-363-2500 or send us your name and email address via our website to schedule an appointment.
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