Trendy clothes, stylish shoes and the latest celebrity-inspired haircut all make powerful statements when it comes to taking pride in your appearance. So does a pearly white smile. But smiles sometimes need some dental repairs before you’re comfortable showcasing them. A porcelain crown is one option that can spruce up a not-so-healthy tooth and restore your confidence.
Crowns serve multiple purposes. It’s a device used to cover a tooth that’s badly formed or discolored. A crown can also be used to prevent a weakened tooth from breaking or to help repair a broken tooth. It even acts as a cover for dental implants. Crowns come in four different styles:
- Ceramic (porcelain-based)
- Porcelain fused to metal
- Gold alloys
- Base metal alloys
Preparing the Tooth
If you need a crown, you may also need endodontic or root canal treatment on the tooth. Not everyone who needs a crown will also need a root canal. Root canal treatment is required if the cavity is deep and reaches the pulp of the tooth, where the nerve of the tooth is located.
Before placing a crown, if not much of the tooth is remaining, Dr. Jaleel may need to build up a foundation to support it. A foundation is needed if large areas of the tooth are decayed, damaged or missing. If you are receiving the crown after root canal treatment, Dr. Jaleel may insert a post-and-core foundation.
To place a crown, Dr. Jaleel will file down the tooth to make room for the crown. After filing down the tooth, there are two ways to make a permanent crown. Most crowns require two visits to the dentist. You receive a temporary crown at the first visit and wear it while your permanent crown is made.
Next, Dr. Jaleel will first make an impression of your teeth. Our team will also take an impression of the teeth above or below the tooth that will receive the crown. The purpose is to make sure the crown will fit into your normal bite.
The impressions are sent to the lab, where the crown is made. During that time, you will have a temporary crown placed. These crowns are not meant to last for a long time. In some cases, however, a temporary crown can stay in place for a year or longer. If it needs to last longer, a lab-made plastic crown is best.
At a second visit, Dr. Jaleel will remove the temporary crown and test the permanent one. Sometimes crowns need more polishing or glazing or some other adjustment before they are placed. Once the crown is ready, it is permanently cemented on your tooth.
You shouldn’t feel any discomfort or sensitivity after a crown is placed. However, if your tooth has not had a root canal, it will still contain the nerve. You may therefore have some temporary sensitivity to cold. If you notice pain or sensitivity when you bite down, contact Dr. Jaleel. Usually this means that the crown is too high. When you bite, you are hitting the crown first. The crown needs to be adjusted. This can be done easily.
If the crown does not fit well over the prepared tooth, it’s possible that the cement will wash out from under the crown. However, the crown may not fall out right away. Under these conditions, bacteria will leak in and cause decay. If your crown seems loose when you chew, or if you have an unusual odor around the tooth, discuss this with Dr. Jaleel, and our dental team will check your crowns at your regular visits.
If you are in no discomfort and your appearance is not affected, don’t try to put the crown back in place yourself. If you do need to put it back in your mouth, clean it well on the inside. Use a toothpick to loosen and remove any cement or debris that is stuck to the crown. A wet cotton swab can finish the cleaning. You can replace the crown temporarily using denture adhesive or temporary cement. This is sold in many pharmacies. Contact Dr. Jaleel right away and try to schedule a visit for the next day.
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What are Dental Crowns and Tooth Bridges?
Both crowns and most bridges are fixed prosthetic devices. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, which you can take out and clean daily, crowns and bridges are cemented onto existing teeth or implants, and can only be removed by a dentist.
How do Crowns Work?
A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function.
Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth, which is why Dr. Jaleel, prefers them. Other materials include gold and metal alloys, acrylic and ceramic. These alloys are generally stronger than porcelain and may be recommended for back teeth. Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used because it is both strong and attractive.
Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa dentist, may recommend a crown to:
- Replace a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
How do Bridges Work?
A bridge may be recommended if you’re missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges. Dr. Jaleel can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.
How are Crowns and Bridges Made?
Before either a crown or a bridge can be made, the tooth (or teeth) must be reduced in size so that the crown or bridge will fit over it properly. After reducing the tooth/teeth, Dr. Jaleel will take an impression to provide an exact mold for the crown or bridge. If porcelain is to be used, we will determine the correct shade for the crown or bridge to match the color of your existing teeth.
Using this impression, a dental lab then makes your crown or bridge, in the material Dr. Jaleel specifies. A temporary crown or bridge will be put in place to cover the prepared tooth while the permanent crown or bridge is being made. When the permanent crown or bridge is ready, the temporary crown or bridge is removed, and the new crown or bridge is cemented over your prepared tooth or teeth.
How Long do Crowns and Bridges Last?
While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy by Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see us regularly at the Fairlawn Dental Clinic in Nepean for checkups and professional cleanings.
To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects
Depending on the condition of your mouth at any one time, your Ottawa dentist, Dr. Jaleel, performs several different types of procedures. Although teeth cleanings, cavity fillings and bondings comprise some of the routine sessions, more involved procedures are now common and easy to complete. In addition to root canals and wisdom tooth extractions, dental crowns are often needed as well, and come in more than one form. Before differentiating between the different types of dental crowns, consider the functions they serve.
A dental crown is a fixed prosthetic object that is cemented onto a tooth. Only a dentist like Dr. Jaleel can remove it once it’s in place. The main purpose of a crown is to cover a damaged tooth, but it also strengthens it, improving its overall appearance and alignment in the mouth.
Crowns are made by taking an impression of the tooth or teeth they’ll be covering. Before this impression is created, Dr. Jaleel must first reduce your tooth’s size so that the crown fits properly. Dr. Jaleel may also place a temporary crown while the permanent one is being made.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are four different types of dental crowns.
- Ceramic — These are used for restoring front teeth, and are popular in this area for their ability to blend with your natural tooth color. The crown is made of a porcelain-based material.
- Porcelain-fused to metal – This crown provides a stronger bond than regular porcelain because it is connected to a metal structure. It’s also extremely durable.
- Gold alloys – This crown is a mix of gold, copper and other metals. In addition to providing a strong bond to the tooth, it doesn’t fracture, nor does it wear away the tooth itself.
- Base metal alloys – This crown is made up of non-noble metals that are highly resistant to corrosion, and make for a very strong crown. It also requires the least amount of healthy tooth to be removed prior to fitting.
Differences Between Crown Types
The sealing ability of the all-porcelain crown depends on the filling materials and the quality of the underlying tooth, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), whereas the other three provide particularly good seals against leakage.
Durability is best in the gold and metal alloys crowns, whereas the all-porcelain crown tends to be less strong, more suseptible if it is put under enough pressure (if you grind your teeth at night, this may pose a problem). By contrast, the crown of porcelain fused to metal offers better durability. Both porcelain-based crowns are highly resistant to wear, but they can quickly aggravate opposing teeth if the adjacent surface becomes rough. Incidentally, the gold and metal alloys are resistant to wear and gentle on opposing teeth at the same time.
Though they sometimes become loose or fall out, crowns can last a lifetime if properly maintained. The best way to achieve this is through proper oral health. Brushing and flossing twice a day are your go-to methods of keeping your teeth healthy every morning and night. Use a toothbrush to keep your teeth spotless, especially your back molars. Above all, scheduling regular checkups with Dr. Jaleel is key to sustaining good oral hygiene so that you won’t have to choose from these different types of dental crowns.