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Understanding Dental Crowns: The Basics

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is affixed to a tooth to restore its size, strength, and shape and improve its appearance. When fixed in place, the crown fully covers the visible part of a tooth right to the gum line. Read on to learn more about the basics of dental crowns.

When a Dental Crown Is Needed

A dental crown can be required in the following situations:

●      To stop a weak tooth from breaking (for example, from decay) or hold together a cracked tooth

●      To restore a tooth that has been worn down or broken tooth

●      To support and cover a tooth with a deep filling when there no tooth left behind

●      To hold a dental bridge in place

●      To cover severely discolored or misshapen teeth

●      To make a cosmetic modification

●      To cover a dental implant

Types of Crowns Available?

Stainless steel crowns are instant crowns that are used on permanent teeth primarily as a temporary measure. The crown protects the filling or tooth while waiting for the permanent crown. Permanent crowns can be made from all types of metal (such as gold or stainless steel), porcelain-fused-to-metal, ceramic, or resin.

Usually, stainless steel crowns are designed for children’s teeth because they do not need multiple dental aids to set it in place. They are less costly than custom-made crowns and don’t require preventive dental care to protect the teeth without crowns.

Metal Crowns

The metals used in crowns have a high ratio of platinum or gold or base-metal alloys, such as nickel-chromium and cobalt-chromium alloys. Metal crowns strongly resist chewing and biting forces, so they last longer. Also, metal crowns rarely break or chip.

Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crowns

PFM crowns can be color-matched to your neighboring teeth, unlike metallic crowns. However, the opposing teeth can have more of an effect on this type of crown than resin or metal crowns. The porcelain portion of the crown can also break or chip off.

All-Resin Dental Crowns

All-resin crowns are less costly than other types of crowns. However, they crumble over time and are more likely to fracture than porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns.

All-Porcelain or All-Ceramic Dental Crowns

These crowns offer a much more natural color-matching than any other type of crown and are more suitable for patients with metal allergies. All-ceramic crowns can be applied to the front and back teeth.

The Difference Between Permanent and Temporary Crowns

Temporary crowns can be designed in any dental office, while most permanent crowns are formed in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are usually made from stainless steel or an acrylic-based material and can be applied as a temporary solution until a permanent crown is composed by a lab.

Caring for Temporary Dental Crowns

Because temporary crowns are just a temporary aid until the permanent crown is ready, the dentists at New York Total Dental recommend some precautions:

●      Avoid chewy, sticky foods that can grab and pull off the crown, such as caramel and chewing gum.

●      Chew the bulk of your food on the side of your mouth that does not have the crown.

●      Avoid eating hard foods such as raw vegetables because they could break or dislodge the crown.

●      Rather than lifting out your dental floss, slide it out from between your teeth to prevent pulling off the temporary crown.

Problems that Could Develop with a Dental Crown

Dental crowns usually don’t cause any problem if fitted well by an experienced dentist. However, the possible problems related to dental crowns may include the following:

●      Discomfort or sensitivity

●      Loose crown

●      Chipped crown

●      Crown falling off

●      Dark line on crowned tooth next to the gum line

●      Allergic reaction

How Long Dental Crowns Last

Usually, dental crowns last between five and 15 years. The lifespan of a crown is based on the amount of wear and tear the crown is gone through, how closely you follow good oral hygiene practices, and your mouth-related practices (you must stop such habits as clenching or grinding your teeth, biting fingernails, chewing ice, and using your teeth to remove packaging).

Cost of Dental Crowns

The cost of crowns differs depending on where you live and the type of crown you chose. For instance, porcelain crowns are generally more costly than gold crowns, which are usually more costly than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. Typically, crowns can range in price from $800 to $1,700 per crown or more.

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Susan Paige

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