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What Are Dental Crowns? Everything You Need To Know

If you’re wondering what dental crowns are, this article will cover everything from the materials used to the procedure itself. Whether you’re curious about dental health or getting a crown yourself, this guide will make it all easy to understand. Let’s begin!

What are Dental Crowns?

A dental crown, often referred to as a “cap,” is a customized covering designed to fit over a patient’s tooth. This procedure is commonly used to restore a tooth’s shape and size, reinforce its strength, or improve its functionality. A properly placed crown is cemented onto the tooth, providing comprehensive protection by fully encasing it.

Materials Used in Dental Crowns:

Dental crowns come in different materials, chosen based on what each patient needs. Dentists look at things like tooth position, surrounding tooth color, tooth condition, and function to pick the right material.

Temporary Crowns:

Temporary crowns are made in your dentist’s office to cover your tooth while the permanent crown is being made elsewhere, often in a dental lab. They’re usually crafted from acrylic-based material or stainless steel.

All-Resin Crowns:

Crowns made entirely from resin are a more affordable option compared to other types. However, they tend to wear down or fracture more quickly over time than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

Stainless Steel Crowns:

These crowns are typically temporary, protecting a tooth or filling while a permanent crown, made from another material, is being prepared. They’re commonly used for children to shield a primary tooth from further decay. When the permanent tooth emerges, the crown naturally falls out.

Metal Crowns:

Metal crowns are typically made from alloys containing high levels of gold or platinum, or from base-metal alloys like cobalt-chromium and nickel-chromium. These alloys are highly durable and able to withstand long-term biting and chewing without chipping or breaking. However, their main drawback is their color, which is why they are commonly used for molars towards the back of the mouth.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns:

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are a reliable choice for both front and back teeth, especially when a bridge requires the strength of metal. The benefit of porcelain is its natural appearance, as it can be matched to neighboring teeth. However, porcelain does have drawbacks: it’s more prone to wear and can chip or break, and over time, a dark metal “line” may become visible.

Zirconia Crowns:

Zirconia crowns are gaining popularity for their great looks and durability. They’re less likely to crack or chip compared to all ceramic or all-porcelain crowns.

All-Ceramic or All-Porcelain Crowns:

These crowns are the go-to for looks, providing a natural color match better than other options. They’re perfect for patients with metal allergies. They’re commonly used for front-teeth restorations due to their natural appearance. However, they aren’t as strong as metal crowns. With proper maintenance, though, they can last for many years.

The Process of Getting a Dental Crown

You’ll need to make two visits to get your dental crown fitted and placed. What does this process involve?

Numbing the Tooth:

First, your dentist applies a numbing medicine to your tooth and the area around it. This helps reduce any pain or discomfort. If you’ve had a root canal before, they’ll use the same type of numbing medicine because the tools used might come close to your gum tissue.

Taking Impressions and Evaluating Shade:

Your dentist begins by taking precise molds of your lower (mandibular) and upper (maxillary) arches to ensure a well-fitted dental crown. If you’ve opted for full-porcelain or ceramic crowns, your dentist will also determine the exact shades of your teeth to match the crowns perfectly.

If you’ve chosen a gold dental crown, impressions of your arches are still taken, but color matching isn’t necessary.

Discuss with your dentist if color matching isn’t crucial, especially for crowns placed at the back of your mouth where they might be less visible.

Preparing the Tooth:

Before placing the dental crown, your dentist prepares the tooth by removing any existing filling material and a small portion of the tooth receiving the crown. This allows them to assess any damage or decay fully and remove any necessary parts to protect the remaining tooth. While this process may take some time, it’s crucial for the health of your teeth and ensures your long-term comfort.

Taking the Final Impression:

After preparing your tooth, your dentist takes detailed and precise impressions. This step is crucial for the dental crown restoration process. Even a minor flaw in the impressions can result in an uncomfortable or poorly fitting crown.

During this process, your dentist may use a gingival retraction cord to gently push the gum tissue away from the prepared tooth margins. They may need to repeat the impression several times to ensure utmost accuracy.

Making a Temporary Crown:

While your permanent crown is being made, your dentist fits a temporary crown onto your prepared tooth. This temporary crown safeguards your tooth and lets you eat normally. Plus, it keeps your smile looking natural until the permanent crown is ready.

Cementing the Permanent Crown:

During your next visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and place the new crown using dental cement. Permanent crowns, typically crafted in a lab, are ready in about 10 days. Your dentist ensures the new crown fits well and adheres properly, ensuring it’s comfortable, long-lasting, and aesthetically pleasing.

Potential Complications of Having a Crown:

While a crown can effectively address tooth issues, there are risks and potential complications you should be aware of:

Tooth Sensitivity:

It’s normal for a crowned tooth to feel sensitive to hot or cold. However, if you feel a lot of pressure sensitivity when biting down, the crown might not fit properly. Talk to your dentist about adjusting the crown’s placement or filing down its top.

Chipped Crown:

Some crowns, like all-porcelain ones, are prone to chipping. Your dentist can often repair small chips.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns may develop chips that expose the metal structure beneath. If the metal remains intact, these chips might not require repair.

Knocked-Out or Loose Crown:

If your crown becomes loose or falls out due to insufficient cement, contact your dentist immediately.

Allergic Reaction:

Although rare, some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the metals used in certain crowns.

Gum Disease Warning:

If you notice soreness, irritation, or bleeding in the gums around your crown, it might signal the start of gingivitis or gum disease.

Dental Crowns at Diamond Bar Dental Studio

what are dental crowns
What Are Dental Crowns? Everything You Need To Know 3

At Diamond Bar Dental Studio, we’re your trusted destination for dental care, including dental crowns. Wondering what dental crowns are? They’re essential prosthetic devices that restore damaged teeth to their full functionality and appearance. 

We offer a wide array of services, from general dentistry to emergency care, including dental implants, orthodontics, wisdom tooth removal, bone grafting, root canal therapy, pediatric dentistry, and emergency dental services. 

Contact us at (909) 455-9979 or request an appointment at Diamond Bar Dental Studio in Diamond Bar, CA. Trust us to keep your smile healthy and bright!