All you need to know about Tooth Crowns
A crown (cap) is a restoration that is placed on teeth that have lost a lot of their structure. There are various types of crowns, ranging from full porcelain to full metal. Your dentist will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each kind for you.
The process of making a dental crown includes a number of steps, beginning with preparing and taking impressions of the tooth/teeth involved. A temporary crown or bridge is then placed on your teeth. Meanwhile, the impressions are sent to the lab where a mold of the teeth is poured and the work begins. The completed work is sent back to the office; after inspection and any necessary adjustments, it is cemented onto your teeth.
The Purpose of Dental Crowns
Crowns have two basic functions. They are used to strengthen a damaged tooth and reduce the likelihood of it breaking or crumbling due to the stress of biting and chewing. In addition, crowns serve an aesthetic purpose, improving the appearance and shape of a tooth. They can even help to correct the alignment of a tooth. Here is a list of common reasons why your dentist may tell you that you need a crown:
- A weak tooth is at risk for fracturing
- A tooth is discolored or misshapen
- A tooth needs to be covered following a root canal
- A large filling needs to be replaced in a damaged tooth
- A dental implant needs to be covered
Crowns are available in a wide variety of materials. The type of material that is appropriate for your situation will depend on the location and condition of the tooth that needs to be addressed. A dentist will be able to customize porcelain or ceramic crowns to match the color of your teeth.
As the field of cosmetic dentistry has expanded and grown in recent years, new and improved dental materials have been developed. Dental porcelain is one of those, and it comes in an array of shades.
Dr. Sindhura will choose a shade to match your natural tooth color. If you are interested in a tooth whitening procedure, you should have it before the crown, so that he can match the porcelain to your new color. An advantage of porcelain is that it doesn’t change color over time.
The best dental porcelain has subtle variations of color, as tooth enamel does. The outside of an all-porcelain crown uses this top-level porcelain and the inside is lined with another type of dental porcelain which adds strength to the crown. It is often made of zirconia, which you may recognize as a diamond substitute.
Porcelain and tooth enamel are both semi-translucent. In other words, both of them reflect some light and absorb some, and both have a pearly glow as a result. When you have an all-porcelain crown, your tooth acquires strong white surfaces all around it which replace the damaged old enamel surfaces. Only you and Dr. Sindhura would know it was a crown. The main advantage of this type of crown is that it has no dark line at the edge.
Another way to strengthen a porcelain crown is by giving it a metal lining instead of a porcelain lining. The outside surfaces are matched to your natural tooth color and the inside metal surface cannot be seen. The main reason we use these crowns is their strength.
As we age, the gums gradually shrink. Slowly the metal lining becomes visible where before gum tissue had concealed it. It appears as a black streak near the gumline. If you’re beginning to see darkness at the edge of your old crowns, ask us about options for a more cosmetic or all-porcelain crown.
A Look at the Procedure
The process of placing a crown requires the use of anesthesia on the tooth and surrounding gum tissue. It will likely be necessary for your dentist to file down the tooth that will be receiving the crown. Filling material may be used to build your tooth up before the crown can be placed if the tooth is severely decayed. A mold will then be made. That mold will be sent to a lab where your custom crown will be manufactured. A temporary crown is placed on the tooth until the completed crown is ready. The process of putting on a crown typically takes between 30 minutes and one hour.
Are You Interested in Learning More About Dental Crowns?
It may be time to meet with your dentist at Woodbridge Smiles if you suspect that you need a dental crown to correct an issue. The friendly staff here at Woodbridge Smiles will be happy to answer all your questions. We can provide you with a consultation that leaves you with a full picture of what’s happening with a tooth that you’re concerned about. Call us today at 703-910-4805.