Dental crowns are a dentist’s best solution for a number of dental challenges. Dental crowns have been used for centuries to help provide a natural looking tooth restoration method with excellent results.
A crown is an artificial tooth used to restore and protect a damaged or decayed tooth. The crown is hollow and fits over your tooth to protect it from further damage. Both dentists and patients favour the crown as it can be used for both restorative and cosmetic purposes, providing a very natural look and feel.
Here is a look at crowns, and when we might recommend one for you.
History of Crowns
Crowns are also often referred to as caps, as they literally cap and protect a tooth that has been severely damaged. We have been using some form of dental crown since 200 AD, although at that time the crown would have been made from gold and other materials. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the idea to use ceramics was introduced by Charles H. Land who acquired the first patented crown known as the “jacket” crown.
E.B. Paulding perfected the jacket crown in the early 1900s, which became the standard well into the 1950s. Although it proved an effective crown, it was prone to microcracking, which then caused issues with the crown, the gums, or tooth. Corning Glass Works improved the crown and introduced the Dicor crown, which used a cementation process that unfortunately also led to failures.
It wasn’t until the 1990s that the crown saw revolutionary improvements from 3D generated crowns to hardier, more realistic materials such as Zirconia. The demand for an improved crown grew as more people began to request cosmetic dentistry to improve their smiles making the crown we see today one of the most popular solutions for both restorative and cosmetic purposes.
What Types of Crowns are Available Today?
Crowns are still available in a number of different materials including:
- Metal crowns: These crowns are made of gold and quite durable since they won’t break or chip. However, they are not very attractive and are usually only used for back teeth that aren’t noticeable when smiling or talking.
- Composite crowns: This is a natural looking crown not prone to chip as much as porcelain. However, they do wear more from chewing and they also tend to stain.
- Porcelain crowns: This is by far the most natural looking of all the materials available, but they do chip more easily. They are ideal for front teeth and not recommended for your back teeth as they wear due to chewing.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns: This is the strongest type of crown and also offers a natural look. They are long lasting, but you can sometimes see the metal exposed over time due to shrinking or receding gums.
When is a Dental Crown Used?
We will recommend dental crowns for a number of reasons, including:
- To protect a tooth that has been severely damaged due to breakage or decay
- To prevent cleaving (splitting) of a cracked tooth
- To rebuild overly worn teeth
- To support a dental bridge for a tooth replacement
- To improve the look of discolored or misshapen teeth for cosmetic purposes
- To protect a tooth following a root canal or large filling
- To complete a dental implant to replace a missing tooth
What Can I Expect If I Am Getting a Crown?
Once the decision has been made to insert a crown, they are usually handled with two appointments. At the first appointment, we will take an impression of your teeth which we then use to create a temporary crown. If there has been damage or decay, we will remove the damaged or decayed areas of your tooth to prevent further decay. We then have to reshape your tooth to allow the crown to fit over it securely and comfortably.
We will use a local anesthetic to make sure you are comfortable during the treatment. We file down the tooth to make sure your crown fits perfectly and allows you to have a natural feeling for your bite. We also take an “impression” of your tooth once it is filed down to ensure the crown fits perfectly over the newly formed tooth. Your temporary crown is then put in place until your permanent crown is ready.
Your crown will be made based on the second impression taken to ensure it fits properly over your filed down tooth. When your crown is ready, you can return to our office and we will remove the temporary crown and check to make sure your permanent crown looks and fits right. This includes the colour, the shape, and your bite. If required, adjustments are made and once all is perfect, it is cemented into place.
Keep in mind that the process can vary from patient to patient and is based on whether a root canal is required or not. You might also be getting a crown or crowns to accommodate other restorative treatments such as a bridge to replace a missing tooth, or as part of your cosmetic treatments and orthodontics.
Care for Your Dental Crown
One of the reasons crowns are a perfect solution is that they are easy to care for. They can be treated just like the rest of your teeth with an oral regime of brushing and flossing. We also check your crowns at your regular checkups so it’s important to keep up with your appointments every six to nine months.
Crowns are strong and have an expected life of about 10 years. With proper care, they can last even longer, which means brushing and flossing are very important. Although crowns are made to look and act like your real teeth, you do have to remember they are not quite as strong. It’s important to avoid biting down on hard items such as trying to open packaging or biting your fingernails.
If you would like to learn more about crowns and other restorative or cosmetic dental treatments, please call (519) 265-5115 or contact us here for more information.