An Essential Alternative to Restore your Oral Health
Dental crowns are prosthetic alternatives that have been available for a long time in modern dentistry. Since their implementation, they have represented an effective and safe alternative to deal with severe damage and its consequences.
In this article, we will try to cover everything you need to know about this therapy and how it can be essential to improve your oral health.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a prosthetic treatment permanently placed over a natural tooth, or a dental implant that behaves as a sheath to restore its lost function and esthetics.
They belong to the dental treatment called fixed prostheses and, as their name suggests, cannot be removed by the patients.
This treatment is an essential alternative to restore teeth with extensive decay and damage when a regular filling is not possible.
Unlike dental bridges, dental crowns are individual treatments for each tooth. Thereby, if you have several teeth affected, they will need a dental crown each.
When are dental crowns indicated?
Crowns are an effective therapy to deal with many clinical situations. For years now, they have represented one of the most used prosthetic alternatives to deal with a heavily damaged tooth.
Amongst their many uses, they are indicated in the following situations:
- To restore function and esthetic of teeth with advanced decay and cavities.
- To rehabilitate teeth with extensive fractures.
- To restore a single missing tooth with dental implants.
- To restore severely damaged, crooked, or worn teeth.
- To rehabilitate teeth with root canal treatments.
- To improve the aesthetics of complex dental stains and discolorations.
Hence, they have many applications in modern dentistry, allowing your dentist to deal with many complex oral problems.
Why are dental crowns needed?
There are many reasons to have your dental crown treatment done. First, these devices substitutes and restores all the lost features of a damaged tooth. These features include chewing, speaking, and your appearance.
When you have fractured or damaged teeth, their state can compromise your diet, cause pain, lead to infections and abscesses, and even induce teeth loss. Thereby, dental crowns avoid all the negative consequences that damaged teeth can cause.
Moreover, extensive decay also affects your breath, as leftovers can get trapped inside the cavities. Decay also perturbs your gums, compromising your periodontal health and inducing bone loss and loose teeth.
Thus, a well-adapted dental crown does not only restores the function of your teeth but improves your self-esteem and personal image. With current materials and technology in dentistry, dental crowns mimic almost perfectly the natural look of your denture, making the treatment unnoticeable. What’s more, people with dental crowns often forget that they have dental prostheses in the first place.
Finally, dental crowns are long-lasting restorations that can endure even decades with proper care and hygiene.
What are the types of dental crowns?
Dental crowns can be classified in several ways due to their wide range of applications.
However, although there are many types of materials that can be used to manufacture dental crowns, among the most important ones we can find:
Gold crowns are highly durable and resistant crowns made from metal alloys that include nickel and chromium. Although these crowns have excellent durability, they are not the first choice due to their non-optimal appearance.
All Porcelain Crowns
Porcelain is the most used material for fixed prosthetic dental treatment nowadays. These crowns are made entirely from porcelain materials, offering excellent results in both function and esthetics. Amongst their advantages, we can find:
- They offer the most natural-looking results.
- They have no toxicity.
- They are suitable to restore front and back restorations.
These are also called fused-to-metal (FTM) porcelain crowns, and they are widely used as well. Unlike all-porcelain crowns, FTM crowns are more affordable and provide a higher resistance while maintaining their esthetic look. Their inner metal core allows withstanding great forces while maintaining a natural appearance. On the downside, they are not as aesthetic as all-porcelain crowns.
Zirconia crowns are the newest and most popular choice now. Zirconium is a new ceramic material that provides both high durability and excellent aesthetics. These crowns allow your dentist to create more conservative crowns with outstanding aesthetic features. Due to their strength and durability, they are a reliable alternative that can last many years.
Lithium Disilicate Crowns
These crowns, also known as E-MAX crowns, make the most from current technology and advanced equipment. Similar to zirconia crowns, these devices are lightweight while being durable and esthetic. Moreover, they can be made inside the dental office with the appropriate equipment. However, although they also offer excellent results and performance, they can be rather expensive.
Crown over natural teeth versus dental implants
Finally, crowns can also classify depending on the type of structure they are placed on. As their name suggests, dental crowns only replace the upper part of teeth. Thereby, they need a solid base as an anchor.
In the case of natural teeth, your dentist prepares the tooth to receive the crown directly over your natural healthy root.
On the other hand, when crowns are placed over implants, they require a different protocol that involves two surgeries and a short recovery process to allow your implant to heal.
In both cases, crowns are fixed over the roots, whether they be your own or new ones, keeping your teeth in function and providing an excellent look.
How is the process of a dental crown?
The exact process and protocol behind a dental crown depend on several factors such as the complexity, severity, and general state. Moreover, the type of crown that you need also determines many aspects during the process.
However, your dentist will usually perform the following steps to accomplish the desired results:
This stage involves a full assessment from your dentist in San Jose, including some x-rays, gypsum models, medical history, and any other additional exam required.
It is essential to consider that every crown is a fully customized and unique treatment design to restore your tooth and avoid further problems. Thereby, you might need some previous treatments before starting your crown process. Sometimes, these treatments can include a professional cleaning, some fillings, root canal treatments, and others.
After a few visits to Dr. Diaz and once your teeth and gums are free from infections and caries, your dentist can start with the process.
During this stage, Dr. Diaz performs minor wear of your teeth surfaces to provide enough room for your new crown. This procedure is done under local anesthesia to avoid discomfort or pain.
Sometimes, she might require reconstructing parts of your teeth with resin composite or placing a post to increase the strength. Once the preparation is over, she takes a dental impression and seats a provisional crown while the crown is ready. Meanwhile, the crown is made in a dental laboratory at the hands of professional technicians.
During this time, you must take care of your provisional to avoid exposing your teeth.
Cementation and Setting
Once your crown is ready, Dr. Diaz removes the temporary restoration and fixes your new crown with specialized cement. After the cementation process, your new crown is permanently placed over your root, allowing you to eat, speak, and look like you have your natural teeth.
How long does it take?
The time required for your complete restoration will depend on your state and the type of treatment that you receive. The previous treatment can delay the placement of your crown a few visits. However, our professional team will create a personalized treatment plan to maximize your time.
What is the cost?
The price will vary depending on several factors, such as the material used and the preparation. As we stated before, some materials are more expensive than others. Moreover, some teeth require multiple therapies to allow their restoration that can increase the budget.
However, usually, crowns can have prices that go around $500 to $2000 per tooth. Of course, the cost can be eased by your insurance. In the end, Dr. Diaz will offer your plenty of options and make a treatment plan that adjusts to your needs and your budget.
How is the aftercare of dental crowns?
Once your dental crowns are in place, they will feel, behave, and look like your natural teeth. Thereby, in essence, you must take care of them as you would with your original teeth. Among the measures you can take, consider the following:
- Maintain your dental care at home by brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Use dental floss and mouth wash daily.
- Avoid hard foods that can damage your teeth.
- Keep regular visits with your dentist to avoid common problems.
- Sometimes, your dentist can specify the use of a special toothbrush. In that case, follow her instructions carefully.
- In case of allergic reactions, pain, or any discomfort, visit your dentist immediately.