Crown restorations are one of the most common types of procedures we perform here at Swedish Dental. Thousands of people every day have crowns to fix an array of dental issues. Despite how common dental crowns are, most do not understand how they work. Read on to learn more about the dental crown procedure.
What are Dental Crowns
A dental crown is an entire cap that is placed over a tooth. In a dental crown procedure, the crown is cemented into place and fully covers the entire tooth. A dental crown is custom-fitted; therefore, part of the dental crown procedure is ensuring the crown is the same size and shape of the real tooth that exists.
Why do you need a Dental Crown?
There are many reasons why someone may need to have a dental crown procedure. Some of them are:
- Protect a weak tooth from further decay, cracks or from breaking
- Restore a very worn-down tooth
- Cover a tooth that has more filling than an actual tooth.
- Keep a dental bridge in place
- Cover extremely discolored or misshapen teeth
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a root canal
What to expect when getting a dental crown procedure?
Our dental crown procedure entails the following steps:
- The dentist removes any decay from the existing tooth and adds any structure/filling needed to support the tooth
- A mold of the tooth will be made to be used to create a matching crown. This is done digitally.
- If needed, the dentist will provide a temporary crown to protect the tooth until the real crown is ready
- Once the crown is ready it will be cemented to the tooth by the dentist
Learn more about Dental Crowns
Types of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns can be made from a variety of different materials, such as:
Metals used in dental crown procedures include gold, palladium, chromium, or nickel. Metals are a preferred material because they last the longest against chewing and biting pressure. These kinds of crowns are more often placed at the back of the mouth as they have a metallic color.
Porcelain & Metal
Many like porcelain because it emulates the color of a natural tooth. However, the porcelain is typically fused to metal; therefore, the metal can sometimes appear as a thin dark line near the gum. Porcelain is not as durable as metal, so they tend to wear down faster and are prone to chipping. Porcelain crowns are most often used for front teeth, but can also be used for back teeth.
These are a less-expensive dental crown solution. However, all-resin crowns tend to wear down faster than other options like porcelain and metal.
All-Ceramic or Porcelain
All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns are the best in terms of natural tooth color. They are a preferred choice for front teeth and for people who are allergic to metals. The types to tend to wear down the teeth around them more than the other types, though.
These have a hard inner lining which replaces the metal liner that would typically be used. They are a great option for front teeth as they provide an all-white “tooth” color (capped with porcelain) and tend to be more durable than an all-porcelain crown.
Dental Crowns Vs. Dental Implants – What’s the Difference?
A dental crown is meant to restore a tooth by completely “capping” the real tooth underneath. A dental crown procedure is typically required when a cavity or something else is close to killing a tooth. Crowns can also be made from a wide variety of materials (like the ones listed above) and are bonded to a tooth using dental “cement.” Dental crown procedures are also pretty simple and straightforward and do not require surgery.
Conversely, dental implants either replace a missing tooth or require the removal of an existing tooth. A surgical procedure takes place to drill into the gum and place the “implant.” Then, a custom cap is made to put in as the new “tooth.” You can read more about the dental implant procedure here.
In many cases, dental crowns will be used in conjunction with dental implants.
Possible Dental Crown Problems
As with any medical procedure, there are potential complications a small percentage of people may experience. If you experience any of the following, you should consult with your dentist right away:
Some sensitivity or even pain is to be expected as the anesthesia wears off after the dental crown procedure. However, if the pain and discomfort persist, be sure to tell your dentist.
Depending on the material of your crown, it is likely that it may chip at some point. Your dentist will check for small chips when you go in for a routine cleaning/checkup, but if your crown becomes chipped it’s important to call the dentist to fix it.
The cement used to bind the crown to the tooth can sometimes be faulty or wash out. If not taken care of in time, it can make room for further tooth decay so if the crown is loose it should be repaired right away.
The metals in many crowns can sometimes cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to metal. While rare, if you have an allergic reaction to a metal implant it will need to be replaced with an alternative material.
Falling off completely
This is rare, but crowns falling off does happen, especially if they experience a big amount of pressure. In this case, the crown will either need to be re-cemented or a new crown will need to be made.