Dental Crowns: An Overview
Dental crowns are dental restorations that are used to cover or cap a damaged tooth. They are designed to restore the tooth's shape, size, strength, and appearance, and provide protection against further damage or decay. Dental crowns are commonly used to restore teeth that have large fillings, are cracked or chipped, or have undergone root canal therapy.
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Crowns are custom-made to match the color, shape, and size of your natural teeth, ensuring a seamless and natural-looking result. They can be made from a variety of materials including ceramic, porcelain-fused-to-metal, metal, zirconia, and composite resin.
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In this article, we will explore the different types of dental crowns, the benefits of getting dental crowns, the procedure for getting dental crowns, how to care for dental crowns, and the cost of dental crowns.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are several types of dental crowns available, each with its own unique properties and benefits. The most common types of dental crowns include:
Ceramic crowns are made from a high-quality dental ceramic material that closely resembles the natural color and translucency of your teeth. They are an excellent choice for restoring front teeth as they provide a highly aesthetic result. Ceramic crowns are durable and resistant to staining, making them a popular choice for patients looking to improve the appearance of their smile.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns consist of a metal base covered with a layer of porcelain. The metal base provides strength and durability while the porcelain layer gives the crown a natural look. PFM crowns are a versatile option and can be used for both front and back teeth. However, over time, the metal portion of the crown may become visible near the gumline, affecting the aesthetic appearance.
Metal crowns are made from various metals, including gold, silver, and titanium. They are known for their exceptional strength and durability, making them ideal for molars or teeth that undergo heavy chewing forces. Metal crowns are less common than other types of crowns due to their metallic appearance, which makes them less aesthetically pleasing for front teeth.
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Zirconia crowns are made from a strong and durable ceramic material called zirconia. They are highly biocompatible, meaning they are less likely to cause allergic reactions or gum irritation. Zirconia crowns are known for their excellent aesthetics, strength, and durability. They are an ideal choice for both front and back teeth.
Composite Resin Crowns
Composite resin crowns are made from a tooth-colored composite resin material. They are a more affordable option compared to other types of crowns. Composite resin crowns are less durable than ceramic or metal crowns and may be prone to chipping or staining over time. They are primarily used for temporary crowns or for restoring front teeth.
Benefits of Dental Crowns
Restores tooth functionality: Dental crowns are designed to restore the shape, size, and strength of a damaged tooth, allowing for normal biting and chewing function.
Improves tooth appearance: Dental crowns can greatly enhance the appearance of a tooth by improving its color, shape, and alignment. They are custom-made to match the natural teeth, resulting in a seamless and natural-looking smile.
Strengthens weak teeth: Teeth that are significantly weakened or damaged due to decay, injury, or root canal therapy can benefit from the added strength and support provided by a dental crown.
Protects damaged teeth: Dental crowns provide a protective barrier against further damage or decay for teeth that are cracked, chipped, or have large fillings.
Procedure for Getting Dental Crowns
Tooth preparation: The first step in getting a dental crown is to prepare the tooth. This involves removing a thin layer of the tooth's outer surface to create space for the crown.
Impression taking: Once the tooth is prepared, an impression of the tooth and surrounding teeth is taken. This impression is used to create the custom-made crown in a dental laboratory.
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Temporary crown placement: While the permanent crown is being fabricated, a temporary crown is placed over the prepared tooth to protect it.
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Permanent crown placement: Once the permanent crown is ready, it is cemented onto the prepared tooth using a dental adhesive. The crown is carefully adjusted for fit and bite before being permanently bonded in place.
Caring for Dental Crowns
Regular brushing and flossing: Like natural teeth, dental crowns require regular brushing and flossing to maintain good oral hygiene. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to avoid scratching the crown.
Avoiding hard and sticky foods: Dental crowns can withstand normal biting and chewing forces, but they may be prone to damage if subjected to excessive force or pressure. Avoid biting on hard objects or sticky foods that could potentially dislodge or damage the crown.
Regular dental check-ups: It is important to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. This allows your dentist to monitor the condition of your dental crown and ensure that it is functioning properly.
Using mouthguards during sports: If you participate in sports or other physical activities, it is advisable to wear a mouthguard to protect your dental crown from any potential impact or injury.
Cost of Dental Crowns
Factors affecting the cost: The cost of dental crowns can vary depending on factors such as the type of crown, the complexity of the case, the location of the dental practice, and the experience of the dentist.
Insurance coverage: Dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost of dental crowns, depending on your insurance plan. It is important to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage.
Payment options: Many dental practices offer flexible payment options, including dental financing plans, to help patients manage the cost of dental crowns.