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What exactly are dental crowns?
Do you feel conscious about your smile due to chipped, gappy, decayed or damaged teeth?
Now it’s possible to restore your teeth to their earlier crowning glory with dental crowns – an artificial way to restore your teeth to their natural size, shape and color.
What exactly are dental crowns?
Dental crowns are used for both cosmetic, as well as restorative purposes. They are custom made in a lab or in house using Cerec and are used to provide support or cover for damaged teeth, or even mask aesthetic flaws like chipping or mis-shapen teeth.
A dental crown fits in around the tooth, protecting it from all sides and giving strength to the structure.
When are dental crowns used?
Dental crowns are typically considered when less than 40% of the original tooth structure remains, as then it isn’t enough to hold a filling or an onlay. Some of the possible reasons that could result in loss of tooth structure or an unstable tooth structure:
- Tooth wear and tear due to grinding or erosion
- Earlier restorations that have failed
- Deep fractures
Dental crowns offer a host of benefits, and are popularly used to:
- Improve the aesthetic appearance of your teeth – by adding length or width to mis-shapen teeth or by masking discolorations
- Protect a worn tooth
- Cover a dental implant
- Support a badly decayed tooth
- Anchor a dental bridge
- Restore a tooth after root canal
- Protect teeth weakened by bacteria and decay
In younger children, crowns are generally used as a protection against decay and plaque build-up.
They can broadly be categorized under resin, porcelain, metal and ceramic crowns. There are also combinations of porcelain and metal, and the final type of crown used depends on your specific requirements as well as your budget.
Resin crowns are the most affordable replacement crowns. They don’t last quite as long as metal, ceramic or porcelain crows and are likely to develop cracks.
These could contain alloys of gold and nickel or be metal only. Metal caps are known for their durability, and are good for cases when there is lesser tooth support.
Porcelain crowns are as close to real teeth in appearance and texture, and are preferred on the cosmetic front. They are also known to last long, making them the ideal solution for dental crowns.
There are a few things that need to be taken care of even before placement of the crown, so as to ensure that the crowns stay in place for long.
Placing dental crowns typically requires single or two visits to our clinic depending on number of crowns needed. If the tooth has been previously filled, there is more some prep work needed before the crowns are placed, so as to ensure there is no existing infection or underlying fracture. Some of the tests you can expect:
- Vitality test
- Core placement
- Root canal treatment
- Crown lengthening surgery
On this visit, there will be a detailed tooth examination to assess the quantity of caps, and the type of caps needed. Here is what your first visit will look like:
- Local anaesthesia is administered to make the tooth and surrounding areas numb.
- A quick “bite impression” or scan is then taken of the tooth to be crowned, along with the adjacent teeth
- Sometimes, the tooth might need to be isolated from the surrounding teeth, with a rubber dam
- The tooth surface will need to be prepared to make room for the crown
- The gums are retracted away from the finish line with a gentle cord, and an impression is taken
- A temporary crown is bonded over the prepared tooth
- You will select the shade of the crown, so that it matches the shade of your existing teeth
This is usually two to three weeks after the first visit. Here is what the second visit looks like:
- The temporary crown will be removed with local anaesthesia and there could be some more amount of tooth preparation
- The fit of the new crown will be checked
- The gums are retracted away from the finish line with a cord
- The tooth surface and the crown fitting surface is prepared to accept permanent cement so that the crown can be securely pushed into its place
You could experience mild sensitivity to hot and cold foods for a few weeks after the crowns are placed. This should subside on its own.
If the bite feels odd in the first 48 hours, you will need to come by to get it fixed.
While it is much easier to take care of permanent crowns with a regular dental care procedure, it is the temporary crowns that one needs to be careful about, as they are not as strong or durable.
Here is a common checklist you can refer to:
- Stay away from any foods that are hard, chewy or sticky
- Be very gentle with brushing and flossing around your crowns
- Avoid putting too much pressure on the crown while biting or chewing
Crowns have a long life – they can last for as long as 10-15 years, with proper care. When it comes to any cosmetic procedure, you know you are in good hands with Magical Smiles. We will only recommend what’s best for you. After all, we are here to make you smile your best ever smile.