Good oral health is a part of the overall health of a human being. Well-maintained oral health contributes to the general health of a person. There is a lot that a person can do at home, which should be coupled with regular dental checkups to maintain good oral health. Dentists recommend regular checkups to help with early diagnosis and treatment of dental problems to avoid costly issues that could arise in the future. Among the many services that a dentist can provide in case of a dental problem is the installation of dental crowns. If you are in Hawthorne, CA, and you need dental crown services, Ganji Dental is the practice to choose.
Overview of Dental Crowns
Restoration of dental crowns is one of the most common dental procedures that can be performed by your dentist. So many people get their dental crowns placed every day, to help resolve all types of mouth and teeth problems. The procedure is quite standard, but not many people understand what dental crowns are and why they might be needed. Some people are even scared to have their dental crowns restored because they do not follow the actual procedure.
However, restoration of dental crowns should not intimidate you. The procedure is essential and not scary. When working with the right dentist, it should be a straightforward procedure. Before we get to the process, let us understand what dental crowns are and why they are necessary.
Dental Crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are placed over a tooth to cover an affected tooth to restore its strength, shape, and size as well as improve its general appearance. The crowns are usually cemented into place and will encase the entire visible part of the affected tooth that lies above and around the gum line. In short, they are prosthetic restorations, which are fixed on a damaged tooth to restore its originality. Note that the restorations are usually permanent. Therefore, the crown is permanently cemented on the extensively decayed or cracked tooth.
Sometimes the crown could extend onto the tooth's root surface, but the most crucial bit is that they replace the outer part of the crown of the natural but damaged tooth. Once the crowns are fixed, they will fully encase the part of the affected tooth that is above the gum line.
Dental crowns are usually custom made for every tooth to allow them to fit perfectly over the affected teeth. They come in a variety of different materials, including porcelain-and-metal, ceramics, resin and gold.
Why Do You Need a Dental Crown?
There are several reasons why dentists recommend the installation of dental crowns. Here are the most common situations that call for it:
Protection of weak teeth
Teeth are designed to handle a lot of pressure, but there are things that we do every day that weaken our teeth. Take, for instance, eating; with an average of three meals a day, human teeth can get busy. While chewing food may not weaken the teeth, things like, chewing ice and over brushing teeth, may cripple them in the long run. Using teeth as tools to open cans as well as not visiting the dentist as regularly as you should also are great contributors to weak teeth.
Dental crowns are a great way to protect the weak teeth from further damage and to ensure that the weak tooth is serving its purpose as it should. Weakened teeth from decay are also protected from further damage. In the case of cracked teeth, dental crowns hold them together to keep them safe from disintegration.
Restoration of already damaged teeth
Our teeth are mainly hurt by the foods we eat. Exposing your teeth to sugar can cause significant harm to them. Hard candies are even worse because other than having so much sugar that is already not good for your teeth; they could also cause dental damage such as chipping or breaking your teeth. Excessive consumption of citrus can also erode the enamel of your teeth, which makes your teeth more susceptible to decay.
There is hope for an already broken tooth or one that has been severely worn down if you consider having a dental crown installed on it. The installation will restore the teeth and strengthen it for normal functioning despite the damage it has already suffered.
Covering and supporting a tooth with a large filling
A dental filling is an excellent way to treat a cavity by many dentists. What the dentist does is to remove the part of the tooth that has decayed, and then fill the area where the decayed material was removed. A severely-damaged tooth will leave a larger room for the filling and a little part of the undamaged tooth. This means that the tooth may not function well even with the filling, and this is where dental crowns come in.
A dentist will install a crown on a tooth to support and cover the remaining small part of the tooth and ensure that it is functioning well despite its large filling.
Holding a dental bridge in place
Dental bridges are dental restorations that are used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. An artificial tooth or teeth are installed in the gap left by the missing tooth/teeth, and then they are attached to the remaining teeth by the dental bridges. To hold the dental bridges in place, the dentist will have to prepare a dental crown for the implant, to keep it in place and ensure it is serving the same purpose as the missing tooth.
Covering discolored teeth
Discolored teeth can be a significant cause of embarrassment, making it hard for a person to smile and enjoy their lives to the fullest. A visit to the dentist can resolve this problem sooner than you can expect, and the use of dental crowns mainly does this. Before crowning a discolored tooth, the dentist must clean out the tooth first. The good thing with dental crowns is that they are very strong, therefore if the reason for your tooth discoloration was an underlying dental issue, crowing it could resolve that problem once and for good.
When used for this purpose, a dental crown can significantly improve the physical appearance of a person. The crowns will give your teeth a more natural look, which allows you to smile and enjoy your life.
Use of Dental Crowns in Children
Dental crowns are not very common in children as they are rarely used in the primary teeth. The reason for this may be because the crowns are meant to provide a permanent solution to serious dental issues, and primary teeth are only temporary and will fall out once a baby grows. However, there are instances when a dentist will recommend the installation of a dental crown on a child. Some of these instances include:
- To protect a decayed tooth that is severely damaged to the extent of not supporting a filling
- To protect a tooth that is at a higher risk of getting decay. This may be necessary if the child has difficulties in maintaining good oral hygiene
- To reduce the occurrence of the general anesthesia needed when children are receiving proper dental care. This is necessary especially for children who are unable to cooperate when in the hands of a dentist fully
Since most dental crowns used on children have a limited period, which is until the tooth falls off naturally, most dentists recommend the use of a dental crown made from stainless steel.
Common Types of Dental Crowns
Permanent dental crowns come in different types, based on the materials used in their making. Some are made from all-metal material, for instance, gold or a different alloy; others are made from stainless steel, all-ceramic, all resins and some from a material of porcelain that is blended with metal. The four most common types of dental crowns are:
Stainless steel dental crowns
These are dental crowns installed on permanent teeth but mainly as a short-term solution to an underlying dental issue. The crown is installed to protect a tooth or a filling, and then a lasting crown from different materials are made to offer a permanent solution. As mentioned above, stainless steel dental crowns are standard with children and can be fitted over a milk tooth which has been set to fit. When used on a primary tooth, the crown will cover the whole tooth to protect it from additional damage. When in the end the milk tooth falls out, the crown will come off with it, and another permanent tooth will grow to replace it.
Dental crowns made from stainless steel are used on children's teeth, mainly because they do not require the patient to visit the dentist frequently for the crowns to be set up. They are also less costly than other customized crowns.
Dental crowns that are made of metal usually include metal alloys that contain a higher content of platinum or gold, or base-metal blends such as nickel-chromium or cobalt-chromium blends. Metal crowns are generally stronger and can withstand any form of biting or chewing forces. For that reason, they last for a longer time and do not wear down. Another advantage is that metal crowns do not break easily or chip. The only drawback is the metallic color. For this reason, metal crowns can be the best choice for molars that are out of view.
Gold alloy crowns are made from a combination of copper, gold, and other metals. The crown is usually solid and cannot break or wear out. The good thing with crowns made from gold alloys is that the material is generally biocompatible with the gum tissue.
These are the kinds of dental crowns that can be matched to the color of the adjacent teeth to make them more sight-friendly. Unlike metallic crowns, these can be more appealing and are therefore great to use on the front teeth. However, these crowns could cause more wear on the teeth on the opposite side when compared to metallic teeth. Again, the porcelain part of the crown can also break off or chip from the teeth.
Even with those drawbacks, porcelain-to-metal dental crowns are a favorite of many people because they can be designed to look more like regular teeth. The problem is that the metal that is underlying the crown can be revealed as a darkened line, more so at the gum line, which can be more pronounced if you have a receding gum.
They are however great for crowning the back or front teeth and also for holding dental bridges in place, especially when the metal is required for its strength.
These are the less-expensive alternatives to other types of dental crowns listed above. The problem is that they can wear down too quickly over a period of time and can be susceptible to fractures. In short, all-resin dental crowns are not as durable as metallic and porcelain- to-metal dental crowns.
All-porcelain or all-ceramic dental crowns
These are best used on patients who want to enjoy a better and natural color blend, and they work better in this area than all the other dental crowns listed above. They are also recommended for patients who are allergic to metal. An all-ceramic dental crown will work perfectly when installed on front or back teeth.
These common types of dental crowns fall under two main categories: temporary and permanent dental crowns. Temporary crowns are those that are made in a dentist's office, and permanent ones are those that are designed in a dental lab. Generally, most temporary dental crowns are manufactured using stainless steel or acrylic-based materials and are used as a short-term solution as the patient awaits a more permanent crown to be designed in the dental lab.
Preparation of a Dental Crown
You need at least two appointments to the dentist to have a dental crown installed. On your first visit, your dentist will examine and prepare the tooth, which will be crowned permanently on the second visit.
Depending on the dental problem you are having, your dentist may perform some x-rays on your first day of dental crown preparation. An x-ray will help check how the roots of the tooth are, as well as the strength of its surrounding bone. In case of an extensively decayed tooth, or a threat of the tooth getting infected, or even a chance of injuring the pulp of the affected tooth, your dentist may decide to perform a root canal first.
The preparation and the dental crowning may require the doctor to anesthetize the affected tooth plus the gum tissues surrounding the tooth. After that, the tooth will be filled around the chewing area and the sides, to create enough room for crown installation. The amount of filling the dentist will use is mainly determined by the kind of dental crown you are receiving. Again, if the affected area of a tooth is large, more filling will be needed to build the tooth up and ensure that it will sustain the crown.
Once the tooth has been reshaped perfectly, your dentist will use putty or paste to make something similar or an imitation of the tooth that is receiving the dental crown. Sometimes these imitations are made using a digital scanner. The replicas will be made to the teeth below and above the affected tooth, to make certain that the dental crown will fit well and not interfere with your biting. The finished impressions will be sent to the dental lab, for the making of the crown. The crown will be ready between two or three weeks, and that is when the dentist will give you the second appointment for the actual installation. If you have chosen to go for a porcelain-made dental crown, your dentist will make sure to select a shade that matches perfectly with the shade of the surrounding teeth.
Note that you will get a temporary dental crown to protect and keep the cleaned tooth safe while a permanent dental crown is being manufactured. Most of these temporary dental crowns are made from acrylic material and are usually kept in place by temporary cement.
How to Care for Temporary Dental Crowns
Temporary dental crowns can come off so quickly if they are not well-taken care of. A few safety measures can be given by your dentists, including:
- Avoiding chewy and sticky foods such as caramel and chewing gum. These may grab and pull off your crown before its time
- Minimizing the use of that side of the mouth that has the affected tooth. You may have to shift the chewing to another side of the mouth
- Not chewing tough foods at all. Such foods as raw vegetables may break down or dislodge the crown
- Sliding and not pulling out the dental floss whenever you are cleaning between the teeth. Pulling out the dental floss may pull off the crown as well.
Issues that Could Come With Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are useful for resolving some of the dental problems many people face, but they do not come without a few issues. Here are some of the most common ones:
Sensitivity and discomfort: a new dental crown could be a little delicate soon after the installation before the anesthesia wears off. If the crowned tooth still has its nerve, you may feel some cold and heat sensitivity. For this, you could be advised to use toothpaste meant for delicate teeth when brushing your teeth. If, however, you experience some sensitivity or pain when biting something, it could mean that the dental crown was not correctly installed and your dentist can resolve the problem.
Chipping crown: there are dental crowns that chip sometime, especially those that are made from an all-porcelain material or porcelain that has been blended with metal. If the chipping is minor, your dentist could use a composite resin to fit the disk while the crown is still in the mouth. In case of extensive damage to the crown, you may need a replacement.
Loose dental crown: there are many reasons why your dental crown could come out loose. If the cement used under the dental crown washes away, the crown will loosen up. The problem with this is that a loose crown could leak in some bacteria and infect your tooth. If you experience a loose crown, visit your dentist immediately.
Allergic reactions: since most dental crowns are made up of a mixture of metals, they could trigger an allergic reaction, though this is very rare.
Crown falling off: your crown may fall off, maybe because the affected tooth is decaying or the cement holding the crown in place has loosened off. If this happens, you can clean the dental crown plus the front part of the tooth, and then replace it using a dental adhesive. If not, take it back to your dentist for a replacement.
It is essential to learn from your dentist how you can take care of your dental crown to prevent it from falling off or from experiencing any of the above issues.
Properly-installed dental crowns and those that are well-taken care of can last for between 5 to 15 years. The length of time your dental crown can serve you is dependent on the extent of wear and tear it is open to and your oral hygiene practice. The good thing is that dental crowns do not require any specialized care.
Find a Hawthorne Dentist Near Me
Good dental health is essential if you want to keep your teeth healthy and to look good at all times. Teeth that are well-taken care of will allow you to enjoy a smile and live life to the fullest. Ganji Dental cares about the dental and oral health of everyone that lives in and around the Hawthorne area. We offer full dental care services for both families and individuals at competitive prices. If you have a tooth that has lost its shape, strength, or size, our dentists can recommend the installation of a dental crown that will improve its appearance and durability. Call us at 310-643-8045 and let us take you through the process.