Dental crowns are cap-like coverings that fit over a tooth partially or completely. A dental crown procedure is recommended by your dentist when you suffer from one or more of the following dental problems:
- Severely damaged or broken teeth
- A large filling or restoration that makes up more than half of the total tooth structure
- Discoloured teeth
- After root canal treatments
Dental crowns offer support and improved aesthetics to teeth that have a compromised structure and appearance. Dental implants also require the placement of a crown to restore the space left behind by a missing tooth.
Types of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns can be made up of a variety of materials like gold, stainless steel, porcelain, dental-grade ceramics and resins. The cost of a dental crown depends on the material being used and the number of teeth that require the installation of a crown.
Gold crowns are no longer used as commonly due to the development of newer and better dental materials. Stainless steel crowns are cheap, durable and long-lasting but not aesthetically viable; they are mainly used on posterior teeth. In the current scenario, dental crowns made of porcelain and ceramics have become the top choice among both dentists and patients. Being tooth-coloured, they have immense aesthetic appeal without compromising on the physical properties that contribute to the durability of a dental crown.
What to Expect in a Dental Crown Procedure?
The first step in a dental crown procedure is numbing the tooth and the surrounding regions with a local anaesthetic. If the tooth is severely damaged or decayed, there may not be enough tooth structure remaining for the dental crown to adhere to. In such cases, a dental composite build-up or a filling may need to be done on the tooth. A root canal treatment is also done quite often on the tooth to make the tooth non-vital before it can receive a dental crown.
Irrespective of whether the tooth has been built-up with extra material or not, it is then shaved down on all sides to make room for the dental crown that will be fitted over it. Stainless steel crowns have the thinnest structure and require the least amount of tooth material to be cut down.
After the tooth is shaved down, the dentist makes an impression of the tooth using impression materials or digital CAD/CAM scanners. Shade guides are used to determine the exact shade of the dental crown depending on the patient’s preferences and the colour of the surrounding teeth. The impression is then sent to the dental laboratory for the fabrication of the dental crown. This may take a few days so your dentist will fit a temporary crown over your prepared tooth.
The temporary crown protects the tooth from sensitivity and damage and is usually made of resin or acrylic dental materials. Patients are called back for the second visit when the permanent crowns return from the dental lab. The permanent crowns can now replace the temporary crowns. It is placed on to the tooth and checked for the fit, margins and an acceptable bite. Adjustments, if necessary, are made before the crown is permanently cemented onto the tooth.