Has your dentist ever recommended dental crowns to restore a broken or cracked tooth?
If so, we’ve got you covered! Let’s talk about why you might need dental crowns, and what the process of getting crowns looks like before you sit down in the dentist’s chair.
A dental crown is an effective solution for many different kinds of tooth problems. And it can offer excellent, long-lasting results that both look great, and protect the structure of your teeth at the same time.
Your dentist will usually suggest dental crowns to repair a cracked or broken tooth, to protect and strengthen a damaged tooth, or to reinforce your tooth after undergoing a root canal procedure. Dental crowns will also restore the full functionality of your teeth, improve your smile, and safeguard it from further deterioration or damage.
Let’s explore some of the key things you need to know before getting a dental crown.
When Do You Need a Dental Crown?
So why has your dentist recommended that you get one or more dental crowns? There are many reasons why you might need a dental crown, but essentially, a dental crown protects the health of your teeth after they’ve been damaged, or after some deterioration. Your dentist may recommend dental crowns for the following reasons:
- To safeguard a weak, or decaying tooth, or to hold together pieces of a cracked tooth
- To restore a worn-down, damaged, or previously broken tooth
- To support and cover a tooth with a large filling when there is little to no tooth left
- To cover discolored or misshapen teeth
- To cover, disguise, and protect dental implants
- To make cosmetic modifications to the appearance of your teeth
- To hold a filling in place
- To safeguard the teeth of a child who is susceptible to tooth decay, or any person who might not be able to keep up with daily dental hygiene
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
Generally, dental crowns are expected to last for a maximum of around fifteen years. However, the longevity of a dental crown will depend on how well you adhere to good dental hygiene practices, as well as the amount of wear and tear to the crown itself.
Certain habits may affect the lifespan of a crown. For example, if you have a dental crown, you should avoid potentially damaging habits like clenching or grinding your teeth, biting your fingernails, chewing ice or hard candy, or using your teeth to tear packaging or open beverages.
While dental crowns can last for many years, even with reasonable care you shouldn’t expect a crown to last indefinitely. A study conducted in 2008 showed that the majority of dental patients won’t need to have a crown replaced for at least five years. In fact, this same study also found that between 50 and 80% of these crowns last for about 15 years.
What is the process of getting a dental crown?
You should plan on at least two visits to have your dental crown fitted and placed. So what does this process actually look like?
1. Numb the tooth
First, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb your tooth and the surrounding tissues so that you experience as little discomfort as possible. If you have had a root canal, your dentist will use that same kind of anesthetic since the tools they use will get close to the gingival tissue.
2. Take Impressions and Evaluate Shade
Your dentist needs to take accurate impression molds of your mandibular and maxillary arches, to create the best-fitting dental crown for you. If you have selected either full-porcelain or ceramic crowns, the dentist will also discover the exact shades of your teeth at this time, before he starts to prepare the crowns so that they match your existing teeth perfectly.
If you have selected a gold dental crown instead of a crown made from porcelain or ceramic, your dentist will still need to take impressions of your arches, but they will not have to work to match the color of your new crowns to your teeth.
If your new crowns are at the back of your mouth, this may be an option to discuss with your dentist, especially if you are not concerned with matching your crown to your existing teeth, since it may not frequently be noticeable.
3. Prepare the Tooth
To prepare your tooth for dental crowns, your dentist will need to remove any existing filling material, and some of the actual tooth receiving a crown as well. Once any filling material is removed, your dentist can really see the full extent of any existing damage or decay, and remove whatever necessary parts of the tooth that needs to be removed in order to protect the rest of the tooth. This process can be a bit time-intensive, but it’s very necessary for the health of your teeth, and your long-term comfort as well.
4. Take the Final Impression
Once your tooth has been prepared, your dentist will need to take additional, detailed and accurate impressions of the tooth. This is an essential part of the dental crown tooth restoration process. Even a tiny flaw in the impressions can lead to an ill-fitting, uncomfortable crown.
When taking impressions, your dentist may use a gingival retraction cord to push the gum tissue away from the prepared tooth margins. They may have to repeat the impression several times in order to get the most accurate impression possible.
5. Fabricate a Temporary Crown
While your new permanent crown is being fabricated, your dentist will put a temporary crown over your prepared teeth. This protects your prepared teeth and allows you to eat fairly normally. This temporary crown is also there for cosmetic reasons, so you won’t have to worry about how your prepared teeth look while you wait for your permanent crowns to arrive.
6. Cement the Permanent Crown
At your next visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and cement the new crown in place. Permanent crowns are usually made in a laboratory and are ready after about 10 days. Your dentist will cement the new crown in place, carefully checking the fit and adhesion to ensure a long-lasting, comfortable, and good-looking crown.
What care does a dental crown need?
Your new crown doesn’t require too much extra care beyond regular oral hygiene. You will want to follow the normal dental hygiene practices recommended by your dentist to keep your teeth clean and prevent the accumulation of plaque, which can lead to additional tooth decay.
Additionally, regular dental check-ups will help your dentist identify any developing signs of a future problem before a larger issue arises.
Your new crowns will give you a healthier, more attractive smile and protect your teeth from additional damage for years to come. Are you ready to alleviate pain and discomfort, protect your teeth, and love your smile again? Contact Fitzgerald Dentistry today, and know few important things before getting dental crowns.
Do check our recent post on Dental Crowns or Fixed Bridges? Which Is Better For Missing or Damaged Teeth