Dental Crowns and Caps – A Last Resort
If you have broken, worn down or cracked teeth, dental crowns or caps may be just what you need to get your smile back. It is a restoration process to strengthen and repair your existing teeth while preserving functionality. Crowns and caps are pretty much the same thing as they cover over the entire surface of the existing tooth much like a cap on your head.
Why would you get a Crown?
- When there is significant tooth decay and not enough of the tooth left to support a filling,
- Your tooth has a large area which is missing due to a fracture,
- If you are undergoing dental implant procedures and
- Sometimes to simply just improve your smile.
- Crowns can also be used as a way of strengthening weak teeth.
Are Crowns a Good First Option?
Depending on the extent of tooth damage, a crown may or may not be a good first option. The dentist has to grind down the existing tooth to allow room for the crown and if there is still a significant amount of tooth left, other less invasive options like dental bonding or veneers may be better. Crowns are best used when the strength of the tooth in question is compromised because restorations like bonding are only as good as the strength of the existing tooth. What is great about dental crowns is that they can last up to 15 years with proper care plus they require the same good dental hygiene you give your natural teeth.
What are Crowns made of?
In this day and age, dentists have a wide variety of materials from which you can choose including porcelain or ceramic, which is made to the exact color of your natural teeth and some are made of gold. What you choose for your crown depends entirely on your budget as they all work the same way. Of course, porcelain or ceramic crowns are best for a more natural look but metal crowns take less away from the existing tooth, can withstand the force of biting and chewing and they last longer therefore they are best used in the back of the mouth for molars as the metallic color is not very pleasing to look at. All-resin crowns are another option and are less expensive but the drawback is that they wear down faster and have a tendency to crack.
What is the Procedure Involved in Fitting a Dental Crown?
The entire procedure takes two visits to your dentist.
- The first visit involves checking the tooth by x-rays to see if the tooth is stable enough to receive a crown. The dentist has to make sure there is not too much tooth decay and that the surrounding bone and roots are healthy enough for the crown. Once it is determined that the tooth and surrounding area can accept the crown, the tooth is filed down and made ready to receive the crown. Impressions are made and sent to the lab. You will also be fitted with a temporary crown made of acrylic.
- On the second visit, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and replace it with the permanent one.