Whether by sight or with an x-ray, dentists can often find tooth decay at its early stages. It’s easy to repair some cavities with a standard filing, but when a tooth has more filling than actual tooth left it’s probably time for a crown. A tooth made up of mostly filling material is unstable. It will become too weak to support normal biting and chewing.
WHAT IS A DENTAL CROWN?
A dental crown, also called a cap, is a dental restoration that is custom made to fit over your existing tooth. Dental crowns restore your tooth’s appearance and function. Like fillings, they can prevent future decay, but they do this by completely covering the tooth.
TYPES OF DENTAL CROWNS
There are multiple types of dental crowns. Here are the three primary dental crown options:
All Porcelain Crown
This is our most common crown. For back teeth, it is a solid piece of porcelain that is milled out as designed by a lab technician. For front teeth, the porcelain is layered over a porcelain base for a more esthetic look. These teeth are shade matched to resemble a more natural looking crown.
Porcelain Fused to Metal
This crown has a metal base with porcelain baked, or fused, onto the metal base. The porcelain is shaped and shaded to resemble a more natural looking tooth.
Full Gold Crown
This crown is made of metal alloys with a high content of gold or base metal. Full gold crowns stand up to biting and chewing forces better than crowns with porcelain. Although they will be shaped like a natural tooth, they are usually gold in color.
WHY DO I NEED A CROWN?
Broken tooth or filling:
When a portion of the tooth or filling has broken off, a crown is used to restore the function and protect the tooth from further damage.
After a root canal
A root canal removes the nerve from your tooth. The nerve supplies your tooth with nutrients to help keep it strong. With the nerve no longer in place, the tooth becomes weak and brittle. In order for the tooth to sustain the forces of chewing it needs a crown.
Cavity under an existing filling:
A tooth with a filling can get a second cavity. This can result in a large portion of the tooth needing to be restored. A tooth made up mostly of filling material is unstable and will become too weak to support normal biting and chewing. A crown is needed to restore tooth function and strength.
Cracked Tooth Syndrome:
When a tooth, with an existing filling, becomes painful when biting it can be a symptom of Cracked Tooth Syndrome. Teeth with fillings can get fracture lines during use. These fracture lines are not deep enough to fracture a piece off the tooth, but are deep enough to be pushed apart when biting. To hold these fractures together and stop the discomfort, a crown is placed over the tooth.
If you are unhappy with the shape, shade, or spacing of your front teeth, crowns may be placed to correct the aesthetics.
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO GET A DENTAL CROWN?
1. The procedure usually takes two appointments to complete. At the first appointment, Dr. Brazdo will prepare the tooth by removing the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth. If there is too much structure removed, a build up will be placed. An impression will be taken and sent to the lab. You will leave the office with a temporary crown in place. This first appointment is about 90 minutes.
2. The second appointment will be to cement the permanent crown. An assistant will remove your temporary crown. The permanent crown will be tried in and adjusted as needed by Dr Brazdo. As long as the crown fits properly, it will be permanently cemented. This appointment is about 30 minutes.