Dental crowns are made out of a variety of strong and durable materials. It covers the tooth which provides strength and prevents breakage. A dental crown is also known as ‘full tooth cap’ or ‘part tooth cap’.
Why do I need a tooth crown?
- Improving the appearance and function of teeth.
- To make your smile aesthetically pleasing and attractive.
- Improving your chewing function.
- Restoring cracked teeth to their normal shape. Large cavities and fillings will make the teeth weak and can lead to crack or split. Grinding and clenching of teeth while sleeping may also cause the teeth to crack or split.
- Make small teeth bigger so that they become the same size as other teeth.
- Mask a dark, stained or discoloured tooth. While some stains can’t be removed, placing dental crowns will cover them up.
- Improve the look of crooked teeth. We can change the shape of teeth and bring all crowns in line. This will improve your smile and appearance.
- Strengthen weak teeth – large dental fillings may make the teeth weak, and they might fracture while chewing.
- Use as part of a dental bridge – as the crown is made on the adjacent tooth, it will provide strength to the dental bridge.
- Use on dental implants to improve the look of teeth.
How are dental crowns made?
The first part involves preparing the tooth in the dental surgery.
The second part includes making the crowns in the dental lab by a dental technician or by a machine.
Procedure for making dental crowns
The first visit will be a consultation. This involves assessing the tooth in the dental surgery. Our Bendigo dentists will select the shade by examining the colour of your adjacent teeth. They also take some dental x-rays to check cavities and check whether the tooth is infected or not. Then they will clean the tooth to remove any tartar near the gum margin.
After cleaning, the dentist will take upper and lower jaw impressions and send them to the lab. The lab technician will make models from these impressions using a hard, stone-like material. From these models, we check the height and position of your teeth and decide what type of dental crown to make and what materials to use. The dentists will explain the findings and options to you.
In the next visit, we may numb the tooth. Local anaesthesia is not necessary if the tooth is root-filled. The dentist then prepares the tooth for the crown. This involves shaving the tooth on the chewing surface to get the right height. They may also cut the sides, either up to the gum margin or above the gum line. Sometimes they’ll add more filling material to build the tooth up.
Once the dentist finishes the preparation, they take an impression of the prepared area. The lab technician uses the mould to make the porcelain crown. We may prepare a temporary crown and temporarily glue it to the tooth until the permanent porcelain crown arrives from the lab.
After receiving the final product from the lab, we remove the temporary crown and clean the area. We place the porcelain cap on the tooth and check the shape, size, colour and general fit. Finally, we glue the crown permanently on the tooth which will protect the tooth and prevent it from fracturing.
Types of teeth crowns
There are many types and different materials used in the lab to make a tooth cap. The materials are very strong, stable and provide strength.
1. Porcelain fused to metal crowns– the lab will use a metal cap and fuse the porcelain to the metal on the outer side.
2. All porcelain crowns– made using porcelain which is a hard material.
3. All ceramic crowns– made using ceramic materials.
4. Zirconia crown– this can be either full zirconia or porcelain fused to zirconia.
5. Gold or Metal crowns– we mainly make gold crowns for back teeth. We use these where the height of the tooth is short. The cap is thin and made of metal or gold. This type is extremely strong.
6. Resin crowns– we make these using white filling material. They may fracture more easily and take up stains on the surfaces. These may require ongoing maintenance either to repair fractures or polish and remove stains.
Risks and problems associated with teeth crowns
Risks and problems include:
- Discomfort or pain– If you experience any discomfort, see a dentist. They can fix the problem by grinding the porcelain cap.
- Chipped or fractured crowns– Grinding or clenching of teeth while sleeping, abnormal bite pressure or a knock or blow to the face can chip or fracture the porcelain margins. If the fracture is small, we can often repair it with a filling. If the fracture is large, the crown needs replacement.
- Loose crown– After some time the porcelain crown may become loose due to a deep bite pattern or an abnormal bite. It may also become wobbly if the glue or cement has weakened or washed away.
- Sensitivity– This may be temporary and will stop after some time. The sensitivity will decrease if you use a sensitivity toothpaste.
- Decay under the crowns margin– It is critical to brush near the gum and floss. If not cleaned properly, plaque will form near the gum and lead to decay or caries if you don’t do this.
- Gum disease– If you do not brush and floss properly, you may develop gum disease and gum recession.
- Black colour around gum margin– This may happen if you have an old crown as the metal margin will show where the gum has receded. This will not happen if you have a new crown, as the crown is made in a way that the metal won’t show.
If you experience any problems, please see your dental professional.
How should I take care of my dental crowns?
Proper brushing including near the gum and regular flossing are necessary. This will help protect your porcelain cap and tooth and prevent decay at the gum margin.
You should avoid biting strange or hard objects. For example, never use your teeth to open the bottle tops, bite your nails or any other hard objects.
Regular dental check-ups are also important, as cavities will be easier to fill if detected early. Bendigo Dental dentists recommend regular check-ups and scaling, so they can identify and treat problems early.