What are dental crowns?
Crown are “caps” that fit over an existing weakened tooth, covering everything over the gum. Crowns are also used to hide any imperfect teeth, especially for worn out and discoloured teeth. For missing tooth, crowns can be used as a restoration over a dental implant.
When do you need a dental crown?
Crowns can be used for several reasons, including:
- Tooth restoration i.e. when the tooth is broken or there is a significant amount of tooth destruction
- To place over an implant to restore function and appearance
- Restoring a chipped, cracked or worn out tooth
- Covering teeth with large fillings or cavities
- Covering teeth that have an odd shape or colour compared to neighbouring teeth
- Protecting your teeth from further wear and cracks which may lead to extraction
- Supporting a dental bridge
What is the process of getting a dental crown?
Getting a dental crown would require a few visits to the dentist. Generally, the process goes like this:
- After inspecting your tooth on the first visit, your dentist will prepare a crown by removing a layer of your tooth. The crown will be the same thickness as this removed layer.
- The crown is constructed to match the shape and colour of your existing teeth so it will blend in
- Your dentist might give you a temporary crown until the permanent crown is made
- Once the permanent crown is ready, your dentist will have it fitted using dental cement or adhesive.
What are the different types of dental crowns?
There are various types of crowns, including:
- Gold Crowns. Gold alloy based dental crowns have been used for years and tend to last the longest out of all the crowns. They rarely chip or break and cause minimum wear to opposing teeth. Due to their metallic golden appearance, they are best used for molars.
- Metal/Porcelain Fused Metal Crowns. These crowns are made from ingredients like nickel, cobalt or chromium and then covered with a layer of porcelain to achieve a white appearance. The amount of porcelain used depends on the patient’s occlusion, tooth height and function. Porcelain fused metal crowns have good clinical longevity and are more durable than ceramic crowns. However, they are more prone to chipping or breaking as compared to all-metal crowns.
- Ceramic Crowns. Ceramic crowns are the most beautiful option as they provide natural colour-match and translucency. Thus, they are a good choice for front teeth. Ceramic crowns can also be bonded onto tooth enamel for extra strength and retention, thus less tooth structure needs to be removed. They are however not as strong as metal or porcelain fused metal crowns.
- Zirconia Crowns. Zirconia crowns offer the best combination of strength, aesthetic appearance and durability. They look similar to natural teeth and can withstand heavy forces on the molar teeth. As zirconia crowns can be prepared in very thin sections, they do not require an extensive sacrifice of natural tooth structure.
How long do dental crowns last?
Typically, a dental crown can last on an average of 10 to 15 years, depending on the patient’s remaining tooth structure and other factors.
How do I take care of my dental crowns?
Crowns should be given the same care as natural teeth, which means they should be brushed and flossed regularly too. However, crowns may not be as strong as natural teeth, so remember not to bite down on hard objects or use your teeth to open or cut things.
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