What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a type of dental restoration that is used to cover and protect a damaged or weakened tooth. It is essentially a cap that is placed over the entire visible portion of the tooth, extending from the gumline upwards. Dental crowns are typically made from durable materials such as porcelain, metal alloys, or a combination of both.
Types of dental crowns:
Metal crowns have been used in dentistry for decades and are known for their durability and strength. They are typically made from alloys such as gold, palladium, or base metal alloys like nickel-chromium or cobalt-chromium. These metals offer excellent resistance to wear and tear, making them ideal for a back tooth that has been root treated.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns
One type of dental crown that is frequently used is the porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crown. PFM crowns are designed to combine the strength and durability of metal with the natural-looking aesthetics of porcelain. These crowns consist of a metal substructure that is covered with a layer of porcelain. The metal substructure provides strength and stability to the crown, while the porcelain outer layer mimics the appearance of a natural tooth.
Pressed ceramic crowns
Pressed ceramic crowns are a popular choice for many patients due to their natural appearance and durability. These crowns are designed to mimic the colour, texture, and translucency of natural teeth, making them virtually indistinguishable from surrounding teeth. They are created using a technique called ceramic pressing, where layers of ceramic material are built up and then fired in a furnace to create a strong and durable crown.
All-ceramic or porcelain crowns
All-ceramic or porcelain crowns are made entirely of ceramic material, which closely resembles the natural colour and translucency of a tooth. This makes them an excellent choice for restoring front teeth because they blend seamlessly with the surrounding teeth and provide a natural-looking appearance. All-ceramic crowns are also biocompatible, meaning they are less likely to cause allergic reactions or gum irritation compared to metal crowns.
All-resin crowns are made entirely from composite resin material, which is a mixture of plastic and glass particles. These crowns are typically used as a temporary solution or for patients who prefer a more affordable option. While all-resin crowns may not be as durable as other types of crowns, they can still provide adequate protection and function for a certain period of time.
What are the benefits of dental crowns?
1. Protection: One of the primary benefits of dental crowns is the protection they provide to weakened or damaged teeth. Dental crowns act as a strong barrier, preventing further damage or decay to the underlying tooth structure. They can also protect teeth that have undergone root canal treatment, as these teeth are more prone to fractures.
2. Restoration of function: Dental crowns restore the functionality of a tooth by improving its strength and stability. A weakened or cracked tooth may affect biting and chewing abilities, but with a crown, patients can regain normal function and enjoy their favourite foods without discomfort.
3. A aesthetic improvement: Dental crowns can greatly improve the appearance of a tooth. They can be custom-made to match the colour, shape, and size of the surrounding teeth, creating a seamless and natural-looking smile. This is particularly important for front teeth or visible teeth that may have significant discoloration, chips, or other cosmetic issues.
4. Longevity: Dental crowns are known for their durability and longevity. With proper care and maintenance, they can last for many years, providing long-term protection
How long does it take to feel better after a dental crown procedure?
The duration of recovery can vary from person to person and depends on several factors. Generally, patients may experience some discomfort or sensitivity immediately after the procedure. This is completely normal and usually subsides within a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate any discomfort. It is important to follow post-procedure instructions provided by the dentist and maintain good oral hygiene to aid in the healing process.
In terms of the crown itself, it may take some time for patients to adjust to the new restoration. Initially, there may be some sensitivity or changes in bite alignment, but these issues typically resolve within a week or two as the mouth adjusts to the crown.
Overall, most patients feel better within a week or two after a dental crown procedure. However, it is important to note that everyone’s healing process is different, so it is best to consult with your dentist for personalized advice and guidance.
How do I care for my dental crown?
Once you have received a dental crown, it is important to take care of it to ensure its longevity and maintain good oral health. Here are some tips for caring for your dental crown:
1. Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily, including the area around the crown. This will help prevent plaque buildup and reduce the risk of gum disease.
2. Avoid hard or sticky foods: Dental crowns are durable, but they can still be susceptible to damage from biting into hard or sticky foods. Avoid chewing on ice, hard candies, or sticky substances like caramel or taffy, as these can potentially cause the crown to crack or become dislodged.
3. Use caution with certain habits: If you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, it is important to address this issue to prevent damage to your dental crown. Talk to your dentist about getting a custom-made mouthguard to wear while you sleep or during periods of high stress.
4. Schedule regular dental check-ups: Regular dental check-ups are important for monitoring the health of your dental crown and ensuring that it remains in good condition. Your dentist will be able to identify any issues early on and provide necessary treatment.
5. Avoid using your dental crown as a tool: Avoid using your dental crown to open packages, tear off tags, or bite down on hard objects. Using your crown in this way can cause damage and may lead to the need for repairs or replacement.
By following these tips and maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you can help ensure the longevity of your dental crown and enjoy its benefits for years to come.