What Are Dental Crowns And Why You Might Need One?

When it comes to our oral health, most of us would like confidence-inspiring, picture-perfect smiles. However, various oral health issues or accidents can cause damage to our teeth, affecting not only our smiles but also our overall well-being. One common treatment for broken or damaged teeth is dental crowns.

But what are dental crowns, and why might you need one?

What Is a Dental Crown?

Dental crowns, also called caps for teeth, are a type of tooth-shaped cap placed over a damaged tooth. Dentists usually use dental crowns after a root canal or as part of dental restoration for a decayed or broken tooth. These tooth-shaped caps are fixed onto the teeth after a dental crown procedure, completely covering the visible portion of a tooth above the gum line.

Depending on the material, tooth crown colors can range from natural to metallic colors, offering the patient a natural appearance or a cosmetic modification. It’s a restorative treatment that enhances the strength, aesthetics, and functionality of a damaged tooth. When a tooth is cracked, heavily decayed, or severely chipped, a dentist might recommend a crown to encase the flawed tooth and restore its natural shape and size.

What Are the Types of Dental Crowns?

1. Stainless Steel Crowns

Stainless steel crowns are a type of crown often used for children’s primary teeth. They are convenient because they can often be put in place during a single dental visit. They are commonly used temporarily to protect a weakened tooth treated with root canal therapy, after a large fill, or for a severely decayed tooth.

2. Metal Crowns

Metal crowns use metal alloys with a high content of gold or platinum or base-metal alloys like cobalt-chromium and nickel-chromium. Metal crowns are durable, resistant to wear and tear and barely chip or break. They are often chosen for their strength and longevity, particularly for the rear teeth, where they are less visible.

3. All-Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain crowns are valued for their natural appearance. They are an ideal choice for people with metal allergies and for restoring the front teeth. The color of the crown can be matched with the natural color of your teeth, providing an aesthetic and broad, natural smile. However, they may wear down the opposing teeth a bit more than metal crowns.

4. Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

Combining porcelain and metal, these crowns balance strength and aesthetic appearance. They have the natural-looking appearance of porcelain, but the underlying metal structure provides durability. A potential drawback is the underlying metal portion may show through as a dark line along the gum line, particularly if the gums recede over time.

5. All-Resin Crowns

Resin crowns are a cost-effective option. However, despite their natural look, these types of crowns are more prone to fractures and wear over time than other material options. Therefore, they might not be the most durable option for long-term dental restoration.

6. Zirconia Crowns

Zirconia crowns have gained popularity for their strength, durability, and natural appearance. These crowns can be color-matched to the adjacent teeth and require less tooth preparation than other types of crowns. They can also be made in the dental office in some cases, allowing for same-day crown installation.

7. Gold Crowns

Even though gold crowns may not be the first choice for aesthetic reasons, they are highly resistant to wear and tear, and they last longer. The strength of metal, particularly gold, helps in withstanding biting and chewing forces. Aesthetically, they are more suited to out-of-sight molars.

Why Should You Consider Getting Dental Crowns?

Enhance Your Smile

If you’ve been trying out various temporary restoration techniques to improve the appearance of your natural tooth, dental crowns may provide the permanent solution you need. The ceramic ones, especially all-ceramic crowns, excellently cover discolored, misshapen, or cracked teeth, restoring their original shape and size and enhancing your smile.

Restore Tooth Functionality

Unlike filling material that merely patches up cavities, a dental crown is a robust, permanent cap that restores the functionality of a weak tooth. You can once again chew and speak comfortably without worrying about further damage.

Long-Lasting Solution

When compared with a temporary crown, properly cared for, a permanent crown can last up to 15 years or even longer. It provides a durable solution to problems caused by tooth decay and damage.

Protect Vulnerable Teeth

If your tooth has undergone root canal treatment or is heavily decayed, it becomes vulnerable to infections or fractures. Here, a dental crown is a shield applied with dental cement, protecting the prepared tooth from further harm.

Boost Confidence

An unappealing tooth that needs root canal treatment or faced decay can impact your self-esteem. However, a refurbished smile with dental crowns can restore your confidence dramatically, whether in social or professional settings.

Minimal Discomfort

The dental visit for getting dental crowns involves minor discomfort as dentists use local anesthesia. The risk of infection or allergic reaction is minimal, making dental crowns a safe and comfortable option.

Easy Care and Maintenance

Dental crowns are low-maintenance. All they require is regular dental care–good oral hygiene, frequent dental visits, and avoiding things that may damage the crowns, such as biting hard objects, which will ensure the longevity of the crowns. They are compatible with a variety of materials and don’t demand any special care.

Who Needs Dental Crowns?

  • Patients With Severely Decayed Teeth. If a tooth has undergone severe decay, leaving a more decayed tooth than a healthy tooth structure, a dental filling may not be enough. Dentists prefer fitting a dental crown as it confers reinforcement to a weak tooth while restoring its normal function.
  • Individuals Needing Root Canal Treatment. A root canal treatment involves removing the infected pulp inside the tooth. After the procedure, the tooth is hollow and hence weak. Dental crowns help restore the tooth’s strength, function, and appearance.
  • People With Broken or Fractured Teeth. If one or more of your teeth have broken or have extensive fractures, a dental crown may benefit you. When teeth are broken or fractured, their strength is compromised. A dental crown procedure can provide strength and restore functionality.
  • Those With Worn Down Teeth. Some people might have teeth worn down due to bruxism (teeth grinding) or severe acid reflux. In such cases, dental crowns are a suitable solution. Full mouth crowns may sometimes be necessary to restore the strength and function of the teeth.
  • Individuals With Dental Implants. If a person has dental implants, natural-looking dental crowns are placed atop the implant. The dental crown acts as the visible part of the tooth. In such cases, porcelain crowns are preferred due to their natural appearance.
  • Patients With Large Filling. When a significant portion of the tooth has a filling, it means the tooth has less of its original structure. Such teeth are more prone to fractures. Therefore, dental crown placement is a safer, more durable alternative.
  • Cosmetic Modification. Sometimes, people might opt for dental crowns for purely cosmetic reasons. If they have discolored or misshapen teeth or want a natural teeth color and visibly pleasing option, a dental crown can improve the tooth’s aesthetic appearance.

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

Dental crowns are a durable solution designed to maintain oral health for several years. On average, they can last between 5 and 15 years, though some high-quality crowns may last up to 25-30 years with proper care and regular dental check-ups. This longevity depends on the wearer’s oral hygiene habits, lifestyle choices, and the crown material.

Regardless of these factors, it’s crucial to remember that dental crowns are permanent and will eventually need replacement. Thus, maintaining good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist help ensure your crown lasts as long as possible.

Is It Painful to Get a Dental Crown?

Getting a dental crown is typically not painful since your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area of your mouth where the crown will be placed. Some minor discomfort and sensitivity may be experienced after the anesthesia wears off, but this is typically manageable with over-the-counter pain medications.

However, if severe pain or prolonged discomfort occurs, this could be a sign of complications and should warrant contacting your dentist immediately. Overall, the benefits of a dental crown in restoring your oral health and enhancing your smile are well worth this minor temporary discomfort.

Can I Stick to My Normal Diet After the Dental Crown Procedure?

There’s a critical period just after the procedure. A common question is, ‘How long after a crown is cemented can I drink?’ to which the answer is roughly 2 hours. During this period, you should avoid eating or drinking anything. Post this period, it is advised to initially stick to softer foods, avoiding anything too crunchy or chewy.

Taking these precautions will ensure that your new crown firmly sets in place, promoting a swift recovery and a return to your normal diet as soon as possible.

Secure Your Dental Health With Legacy Dentistry of Virginia: Schedule an Appointment Today

Dental crowns offer a resilient solution for various dental problems, from decayed or damaged teeth to cosmetic improvements. Understanding their function, benefits, and potential disadvantages ensures individuals can make an informed decision regarding their dental health.

At Legacy Dentistry of Virginia, we understand the importance of individual treatment plans and support our clients every step of the way. No matter your oral health needs, our team is ready to assist you in restoring your smile with high-standard dental crowns.

Don’t delay your journey to a healthier smile. Contact Legacy Dentistry of Virginia today. Invest in your dental wellness and experience the confidence of a healthy, radiant smile.

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