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Dental Crown

Reasons to Have One, What to Expect, Associated Risks & More

5 Reasons Why You Would Need Dental Crown

1. Large cavity

Sometimes, a large cavity can be filled if there is enough of the tooth structure left for the filling to adhere to. However, the size of the cavity can often leave behind too little of the tooth itself to actually support a filling.[1] In this situation, a dental crown, or a cap that is shaped like a tooth, is placed above the gum line to fix the cavity. This is a common occurrence for which dental crowns are often necessary.

2. Broken tooth

Teeth can get broken, chipped, or otherwise cracked in a variety of ways, including injury and biting down on something hard. In this instance, a dental crown could be a helpful treatment in order to protect the chipped or cracked tooth and also keep it from getting broken further.

3. Tooth grinding

Many people grind their teeth when they become nervous or angry. Some individuals don’t even realize they’re doing it or may do it in their sleep. Over time, habitual teeth grinding can lead to a number of issues, from temporomandibular joint dysfunction to worn, cracked, or broken teeth. Getting a dental crown can be a good way to deal with the issue of broken or cracked teeth; however, tooth grinding can require further treatments if it is severe enough.

4. Discolored teeth

Some people get stains on their teeth from drinking coffee, smoking or chewing tobacco, not taking proper care of their teeth, drug use or abuse, or even from serious illnesses and trauma.[2] Discolored, stained teeth can sometimes be best treated with a dental crown, especially if teeth bleaching or other options are not effective. Dental crowns can cover the stains to make teeth look bright and white again.

5. Dental work

A dental crown could be used to help hold other types of dental work in place. This is especially true of a dental bridge, which needs the crown to keep it aligned.[3] In other situations, a dental crown can be used to cover a dental implant, so it is not as obvious. Teeth that have been treated with root canals most likely will need a dental crown.

Understanding a Dental Crown

The procedure for placing a dental crown is usually done in two dental visits because it is a two-step process. The first step involves numbing the tooth, the surrounding teeth, and the tissues nearby.[4] A local anesthetic is used so you will be awake but won’t feel anything. Next, the dentist will remove any decay from the tooth as well as any other forms of restoration that were used in the past to protect it. The tooth will then be reshaped in order to prepare it for the dental crown.

The dentist will then take an impression of the reshaped tooth and send it to a dental lab or, in some cases, scan the tooth digitally.[3] The impression or scan of the tooth will be used to create a permanent crown. At this point, though, you will need to be fitted with a temporary crown.

Your second visit will involve the removal of the temporary crown and implantation of the permanent crown. This will usually take place about a week or two after your last appointment.[4] The temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be fitted into place. In some cases, your dentist may want to take x-rays to make sure the crown fits as it should. Finally, the crown will be cemented into place and you will have your new, permanent dental crown.

Risks of Getting a Dental Crown

1. Cavities

It is still possible for the tooth under your dental crown to get a cavity. This means you should be extra vigilant with your oral hygiene in order to protect the tooth under your dental crown from developing any issues.

2. Nerve sensitivity

It is sometimes common for the nerve inside the tooth under the dental crown to become extremely sensitive.[1] This can occur from hot or cold temperatures, especially in food or drinks, and can be incredibly painful. If this does occur, you might need a root canal.

3. Crown problems

Dental crowns are not unbreakable. Like teeth, they can become chipped or cracked. This can often occur if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw too often. You might have to wear a mouth guard at night to prevent this problem. Also, your crown could potentially fall off if the tooth’s core isn’t strong enough to support it. In this case, it might be necessary for you to have the old tooth pulled and a dental implant put in its place.

What to Expect with a Dental Crown

1. Crown types

There is actually more than one type of dental crown. Stainless steel crowns are often effective for children, especially when placed over the baby teeth. Metal crowns last the longest and are the strongest, but they don’t look natural when it comes to your smile. Resin and ceramic crowns may look more natural, but they are not as strong as metal crowns.

2. Life with your dental crown

You might notice a sensitivity to hot and cold after the permanent crown is placed, but this should lessen with time. It can be weird to feel the dental crown in your mouth for a while, but you will soon get used to it. Most crowns will last at least five years and can last up to 15 or 20 years.[1]

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Your Dental Crown

  • Does it hurt to get my dental crown?
  • Which type of dental crown is best for me?
  • Should I be worried about wearing or chipping my crown?
  • How long will I have to wait between getting my temporary and permanent crowns?
  • Is there anything I can do to avoid needing another dental crown in the future?

A Dental Crown May Also be Known as:

  • Dental cap
  • Lab-fabricated restoration
  • Porcelain crown
  • Metal crown



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