Dental crowns otherwise commonly called as cap on tooth are worn to repair broken, cracked, decayed or root canal treated teeth & implants. A crown enables function & aesthetics of a normal natural tooth.
A dental crown can be temporary or a permanent one. Indications of crown include
A temporary crown is given to offer protection, when permanent crowns are being processed in the labs. Permanent crowns are cemented over the prepared tooth & can be removed only by a dental professional.
Crown can cover a tooth partially or fully. Stained or discoloured teeth or those with superficial enamel cracks are often covered partially by special crowns called as dental porcelain veneers. These involve very minimal tooth preparation and are usually done in the upper or lower front teeth. Crowns fully cover the teeth when a root canal treatment is done or implants are placed.
Crowns are made of metal alloys, metal fused ceramics or full ceramic, acrylics or composite resins. Acrylics and composite resins are usually done for temporary crowns. Metal crowns are not preferred generally because they are seen obviously inside the mouth. Metal fused ceramic and full ceramic crowns are used widely as they form a good replacement both functionally and aesthetically. Depending on the position of the teeth, the dentist will recommend the type of crown required.
Your dentist will first prepare the tooth that requires the crown to be fitted. This may involve decay removal or a tooth filling that is done. During this preparation some natural tooth structure will be removed, so as enabling space for the crown to fit in. This may cause sensitivity in some patients, in which case injections are given to make the area numb.
After this preparation, dentist will take an impression (mould) of it, along with your bite record. These impression moulds are sent to the lab for crown processing. If the lab processing takes more than a day, then temporary crowns are given to the patient to avoid sensitivity. It is best to avoid hot and cold foods at this time.
Once the permanent crown is ready, it is first tried and some necessary adjustments are done. If any discrepancies are noted on biting or chewing, it is best to inform the dentist before cementation. Once cemented, only limited adjustments can be done and only a dentist can possibly remove a crown.
Although crowns are permanently fixed and do not pose any problems for long periods of years, it is the responsibility of the patient to take proper care of them. Regularly brush and floss the teeth to keep area clean. Do not bite strong nuts or materials over the crowns. They tend to fracture rarely. If teeth grinding habit is present, dentist may recommend a night guard.
Crowns are an affordable replacement, restoring back a beautiful smile.