A crown is a tooth-shaped cap, which can be made from a variety of materials that covers a tooth to restore the health, function and appearance. A crown may be recommended if a tooth has been fractured, chipped, worn down, or has a large cavity that compromises the structural integrity. The purpose of a dental crown is full tooth coverage, thereby reducing the risk of future fractures and cavities.
A crown procedure is typically two appointments. During the first appointment, the anaesthetic will be used to numb the area. Then, outer tooth structure will be removed, or “drilled” away to make room for the crown to fit snug on top. If there is any decay, it will also be removed at this time. Only healthy tooth structure will be left to support the crown. Next, a detailed impression will be taken of the tooth and surrounding teeth to be sent out to a lab to make the crown. The impression shows the size and shape of the crown to be made. It takes about a week to fabricate the crown, so in the meantime, a temporary crown will be placed in the area. During the second visit, the temporary crown will be removed, and the permanent crown from the lab will be cemented on. The bite will be checked to make sure the crown fits together correctly with all adjacent teeth.
The material the dental crown is made from will be based on several factors, where the tooth is, how much force the tooth uses, cost/insurance, what is recommended by the dentist, patient preference. Some common crown materials are listed below.
Metal – Metal crowns are suitable for areas that withstand a lot of force. Metal crowns don’t chip easily and generally last longer, but they do not match with natural teeth.
Porcelain Fused to Metal – Are typically quite strong, are match with natural teeth, but may sometimes chip and also may occasionally show a metal line at the gum line.
Porcelain – Look the most natural but may chip easier so are usually only used on front teeth.
It is essential to maintain an excellent oral hygiene regimen to keep crowns healthy just like with natural teeth. It is recommended to brush at least twice a day and to floss at least once a day as well as use a fluoridated toothpaste. It is possible to get cavities around the margins of crowns if they are not well cared for. Regular dental cleanings and check-ups are an integral part of maintaining the health of dental crowns.