Why Do I Need a Crown?

2 January, 2019 Cosmetic Dentistry,

Dental crowns have been around for a long time and with good reason. They are one of the most effective ways to add strength to a tooth that has been damaged in some way. It's not unusual for dental crowns to be used in conjunction with fillings, veneers, and other methods in order to repair a tooth and prevent the need for an extraction. Do you need a crown? What can you expect to happen? Here are some answers to the more common questions that people have about crowns.

What is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a device that aid in restoring the appearance and the function of a damaged tooth. Dental crowns are affixed to a tooth or on top of a dental implant using dental cement. a crown may be shaped to fit over the top of the tooth or designed to envelope the entire tooth.

What are Some Situations That Call for Crowns?

Saving a tooth that’s been partially destroyed by tooth decay is one of the more common reasons for getting crowns. In this scenario, the decayed portion is removed and the empty space is filled. The crown is then adhered to the top or slips over the entire tooth, depending on the extent of the damage. The material used for the crown can be tinted so that it matches the hue of the surrounding teeth.

Crowns are also used when dental implants are inserted into the gums. In this scenario, the crown or cap is designed to look just like a real tooth. It’s also held in place with the use of dental cement. As with any crown, the ones used with implants are customized so they are properly proportioned and look exactly like the type of tooth they are replacing.

When a tooth is chipped or cracked, it’s not unusual for a dentist to use a combination of a veneer and a crown to restore the appearance. Along with the cosmetic aspect, using this approach also provides more support for the damaged tooth. The result is that the crack is effectively sealed and the chipped portion is no longer exposed. That also helps reduce the risk of more problems developing with that particular tooth.

Will I Feel Pain When I Get a Crown?

Patients typically do not feel any discomfort when a crown is installed. The dentist is likely to use some type of local anesthesia to deaden the area. That’s important since it may be necessary to remove some portion of the tooth. This is often the case when the tooth is chipped and some amount of evening is needed before the crown can be installed.

If the patient has issues with anxiety, the dentist may recommend taking a small amount of medication to control the condition while one or more dental crowns are put in position. Since the tooth crown procedure will vary in terms of duration based on the severity of the problem and the type of crown needed, it pays to assume you will be in the dental chair for some time.

How Do I Care For a Dental Crown?

Crowns are designed to hold up well over time. Much of what you will do to take proper care of the crown is the same as caring for your teeth in general.

Most dental professionals will avoid chewing anything for at last a half-hour after leaving the dental clinic. You may want to go with soft foods or at least chew on the other side of your mouth for a day or two. Typically, any lingering sensitivity will be gone after that time.

From that point on, brush after meals. You also want to floss daily. If you notice any undue pressure or any discomfort underneath the crown, do contact your dentist.

While crowns are durable, they are not indestructible. Any activity that would damage natural teeth could also damage a crown. That means you should refrain from chewing on ice and any other substance that would be hard enough to crack or chip a real tooth.

What Happens If I Damage a Crown?

If you do damage the crown, don’t panic. Dental professionals have the resources to remove a damaged crown and replace it with a new one. Depending on the severity of the problem, it may be possible to mend the crown. Your dentist will tell you if this is possible or if it would be better to remove and replace it.

Taking care of a broken crown tooth is much like the dental crowns procedure you had when the initial crown was installed. The old crown is carefully removed and the remaining tooth is checked and cleaned carefully. Once it’s prepared properly, the new crown is adhered to the tooth. Take the recommended precautions for the first day or two and things will be back to normal.

How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?

The costs for dental crowns varies, with a number of factors affecting the expense. As of 2017, it’s not unusual for a single crown to cost anywhere between $500-$3,000 CAD. Your dentist can discuss options with you and provide an idea of how much each crown will cost.

Remember that if you have dental coverage, crowns are often covered in full or at least in part. The remainder can be paid out of pocket or covered with the use of some type of dental loan or line of credit.

How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?

While it’s true that dental crowns will last for a number of years, they are not designed to last for a lifetime. At some point, the crowns you receive today will need to be replaced.

During your annual exam and at each of your dental cleanings, all crowns are inspected closely. This provides an idea of how much wear and tear the crown has sustained and if there’s a need to replace it soon. The dental professional will also check to see how well the crown is adhering to the implant or the tooth. If the crown is beginning to loosen, the dentist may also recommend removing it, checking the underlying tooth a little closer, and then preparing a fresh crown.

How Long is a Crown Supposed to Last?

While dental crowns in Barrie are durable, they will not last forever. Some experts state that crowns will last anywhere from a single decade to two decades. Most point to a median duration of 15 years.

While some of the reasons for replacement have to do with the crown itself, the tooth may lead to the need to replace the device. For example, the remaining portion of the tooth may develop decay. In that scenario, it may be necessary to remove the crown, determine if the tooth can be treated, refilled, and capped with a new crown. If so, you will need a replacement that’s customized to cover the repaired tooth properly. If the tooth cannot be saved, it will be extracted and you have the option of getting an implant with a new crown.

What is the Best Dental Crown Material?

While some type of amalgam is used for filling decayed teeth, the range of materials used for crowns is more limited. Many dentists prefer to use porcelain based materials. This is especially popular with crowns for the front teeth since the material is relatively easy to tint and holds up well over time.

You can also talk with the dentist about using gold alloys or base metal alloys if you like. Dentist are usually more open to using alloys when the crowns are for molars and teeth that are more toward the back of the mouth rather than directly up front.

Talk with your dentist about the pros and cons associated with using different materials. Doing so will help you make an informed choice and minimize the risk of certain types of dental crown problems later on.

How Can I Find Answers to Other Questions About Dental Crowns?

There are a number of resources that you can use to find out more information about dental crowns. One is to do some research online. If you choose this approach, be mindful of the source of anything you find. Along with plenty of facts about crowns, you will also find information that is inaccurate or based on anecdotal evidence. The best approach is to look for answers to your questions on websites operated by dental professionals or educational institutions like a school of dentistry.

You will also find that your dentist is happy to discuss any questions you may have about dental crowns. This is often the best approach since the dentist will relate that information directly to your present dental health. That’s important, since the goal is to determine if a crown is right for you, what type of crown material is best, and what you can expect in terms of performance in the years to come.

Remember that crowns are one of the more effective ways to protect your teeth from further damage. If your dentist is recommending crowns, take the suggestion seriously. Doing so could allow you to keep those teeth for quite a few more years.