Having a dental crown procedure restores form and function to a diseased or damaged tooth. It is a restorative procedure that should be done as soon as possible to prevent dental decay from spreading to your other teeth, gums and underlying bone. Dental crowns are relatively common and can be completed efficiently by an experienced dental practitioner. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from the dental crown procedure.
What Are Dental Crowns?
A dental crown or cap is usually made from porcelain, metal, ceramic or composite resin and is created as a cover to fit over an existing tooth that has been damaged by decay or disease. It can strengthen a weak tooth and covers up any visible imperfections on the surface of the tooth.
Metal crowns are the strongest and longest-lasting but because of their appearance, they tend to be best for back teeth. Porcelain fused to metal is also strong because of the metal base and offers the added benefit of being tooth-coloured porcelain so it blends in. Composite resin crowns are affordable but this material is a bit softer than other materials and needs to be replaced more often.
When Is A Dental Crown Required?
A crown can cover a bigger area than a dental filling and will be used when your dentist needs to build up a significant portion of your tooth. A crown is also used to cover up a dental implant or when a tooth is restored through a root canal treatment. A dental cap is also used to hold a bridge in place.
Before going ahead with dental crowns, your dentist will probably take an x-ray of the affected tooth to see how deep the decay is, before cleaning out any dead or decaying material.
What To Expect From The Dental Crown Procedure?
You can expect to make two visits to your dentist for your dental crown.
A dental cap procedure is typically performed under local anaesthetic to make the experience more comfortable. The first step in a crown procedure is to prepare the tooth. In order to do this, your dentist needs to remove a thin layer of dental enamel so that the crown fits in with your bite. Once this has been done an impression will be taken of your tooth, and sent off to a dental laboratory so that the crown can be made. It will match the size, shape and colour of the other teeth in your mouth so it blends in.
When the crown is ready you will be called back to your dentist for a fitting where the crown will be attached with dental cement. You may wear a temporary crown until the permanent one is ready.
A dental crown can be used to
- Restore cracked, chipped or broken teeth
- Provide support for a dental bridge
- Cover a tooth that needs a large filling
- Cover discoloured or misshapen teeth
- Provide protection for a weak tooth
What Are The Side Effects And Complications Of A Dental Crown?
Once the procedure is complete it may take a day or two to get used to your restoration. Some possible side effects and complications may include
Temporary numbness or loss of sensation as a result of the anaesthetic.
Your dental cap may loosen over time and with use. It is possible for a crown to fall off however this usually happens if not enough dental cement has been used, or when the crown has been in place for some time. Loose crowns need to be reported to your dentist as soon as possible as bacteria may be able to access your tooth.
Some tooth sensitivity may occur after a dental cap. This is particularly relevant if you had severe decay or your tooth nerve became irritated during the crown procedure. If you feel sensitivity to hot and cold, or when biting down it is possible that your crown needs to be adjusted.
Porcelain crowns can chip over time. This means that porcelain is best for the front teeth where they will encounter less bite force.
It is possible for your crown to stain, particularly if composite resin was used. Porcelain is more resistant to stains but any discolouration or staining of a cap cannot be whitened, and the crown will need to be replaced if this happens.
Your crown needs the same dental care routine as your natural teeth: twice-daily brushing and flossing as well as visits to the dentist every six months. If you are susceptible to dental decay you should discuss your concerns with your dentist.
How Long Do Dental Caps Last?
Depending on how well you care for your teeth, the type of material used for the crown and assuming you do not have more decay to the affected tooth, you can expect dental crowns to last for between five and 15 years before they need to be replaced.
Your dentist will check on the state of your dental crowns when you go for your check-up appointments. He or she will be able to see if the crown has shrunk or become loose.
If you still have questions or would like to book your dental crown procedure please contact us for an appointment:
Phone: (02) 9158 6213
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Phone: (02) 9158 6756
Illawong, NSW 2234
Phone: (02) 9159 6083
Sylvania Waters NSW 2224