A dental crown is a cap shaped like a tooth that is placed over a tooth, to restore its shape size and strength, and to improve its look. There are different materials used to fabricate crowns, and all crowns are fabricated so that they are nearly identical to the tooth being restored. This ensures that they fit in and match the surrounding teeth. Your dentist will recommend the best materials and processes for your specific crown treatment.
Reasons for crown placement?
- To protect a tooth from decay
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been worn down
- To improve the strength and longevity of a tooth following a root canal
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To restore (or cover) a dental implant
- To cover a tooth that has a large filling (normally the present tooth has no room left because the filling is too large)
- Aesthetics (Personal preference in improving one’s smile)
Crowns for Children
Crowns can be used for primary teeth (baby teeth) in the following situations:
- If severe decay has damaged the tooth and it can no longer support a filling
- For children who are at high risk for tooth decay
In most cases with children, the dentist will recommend a stainless steel crown.
What can patients experience after a placement of a crown?
Discomfort and Sensitivity
Once the crown has been placed and the anesthesia has worn off, patients can experience discomfort and sensitivity. If the tooth that has been crowned still has a nerve present, you may experience hot and cold sensitivity. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth may be recommended for temporary use. Pain when biting down may mean that the crown is situated too high on the tooth, and you should let your dentist know immediately so that the situation can be remedied.
Crowns made with full porcelain can chip. Small chips can be restored with a composite filling with no need of replacing the crown. Major chips may require replacement of the crown.
Sometimes cement washes out from under the crown. If this is the case, it needs to be rectified and brought to your dentist’s attention. Bacteria can leak in and cause decay to the tooth.
Crowns Fall Off
Sometimes crowns fall off because of improper fit, lack of cement or because there is too little tooth structure remaining where the crown is placed. If you experience this, contact your dentist immediately. Your dentist will give you temporary solutions until you can be seen for an evaluation.
Temporary crowns are used until your permanent crown is placed. Temporary crowns are made in the dental office, whereas the permanent crown is made at a dental laboratory. The temporary crowns are made using acrylic material, and are not intended for long term use.
Educational Video on Dental Crowns
Bridges are designed to bridge a gap created by a one or more missing teeth.
Bridges are composed of two crowns which are anchored on natural teeth or implants and are placed on either side of the gap. The crowns are called the “abutment teeth”. A artificial tooth (or teeth), called the pontic(s), is connected between the two crowns.
Benefits of a Dental Bridge:
- Bridges restore your smile
- The functionality of chewing, biting and speaking properly is reestablished
- Keeps other teeth aligned and prevents them from drifting out of position
Educational Video on Dental Bridges