A crown is a technique used for dental restoration, wherein the crown or the cap is fitted over the remaining portion of an implanted or damaged tooth. The crown encircles or covers the prepared tooth and makes it stronger and provides the look of a natural tooth.
Patients suffering from dental health issues related to the presence of large cavities in the dental setup, are advised capping or “crowning “ of teeth.
Sometimes they are also used to cap broken teeth or those teeth which have been weakened over time due to decay and other dental problems. Patients who have undergone a filling in the roots of their teeth also require a crown. Sometimes the fillings in the teeth get discolored over time and it becomes important to shield them with the help of a crown to improve their appearance. Some dentists install a crown to hold dentures or braces in their correct positions.
How are Crowns made and What is the Cost Involved
Constant innovation in the field of dentistry has introduced newer elements that are being increasing used for the making of crowns. A crown is generally bonded with the other parts of the teeth, using a special type of dental cement and are made from a variety of materials which are created through indirect fabrication methods. Many of us are familiar with the “gold tooth” which is a crown made of a single type of alloy containing gold, palladium, platinum, copper, silver and tin.
However, these are expensive to install and are now becoming less popular than the other materials. Most crowns these days are created with a precious metal, such as gold at the base and bound by layers of porcelain on top. Crowns which are made of porcelain as the only constituent material, look like natural teeth and are used to restore the teeth that are visible in the front region of the dental setup.
One of the most popular and useful type of crown is made from ceramic and strengthens the tooth while giving it the appearance of a porcelain crown. An all ceramic crown, which can be used in any part of the mouth, works as a great metal free alternative for many patients. As evident, the cost of crowning is dependent to a large extent on the material used for making the crown. It is important to request a written estimate for the procedure and compare the costs involved with other dental clinics.
How are Crowns Prepared
The tooth of the patient is prepared to align itself with shape of the crown. The stronger inner core of the tooth is allowed to remain in its natural form, while the outer covering is removed. The thickness of the crown is dependent on the amount of outer surface removed by the dentist.
After the tooth has been shaped, the impression of the newly prepared tooth along with that in the opposite jaw is taken. Sometimes a mould is also created to check the formation and matching of the two opposite teeth when they bite in unison. Once the impressions are generated, they are passed on to the technician responsible for the creation of the crown as per the prescribed colorations and other relevant information.
The Process and Duration of Crowning
Patients who have had their tooth prepared for the installation of the crown have to go through a waiting period. A temporary crown is fixed over the teeth to avoid discomfort and allow the usage of the tooth until the final crown is prepared. After the preparation of the crown, it is important for the patient and the dentist to be completely satisfied with the look and fit of the same. The crown is then fixed over the prepared tooth with the help of an adhesive or a special kind of dental cement. The cement acts as a sealant to hold the newly installed crown in its correct place.
The duration of the process of crowning may stretch from 1-2 weeks. The number of visits to the dentists chamber are generally limited to two: On the first visit, the patient is required to give the impression of the teeth as discussed above, have his/her tooth prepared for crowning, take decisions on the shade, material and fit of the crown and have his/her temporary crown fitted. The second appointment is taken for the fitting of the permanent crown.
The crown is an artificial implant in the dental setup and so it may be slightly different from the original shape and structure of the original teeth. It may cause slight discomfort and make the patient feel aware about its presence. However, it takes a few days for adjustment and it soon becomes an integral part of the dental setup. However, if the feeling of discomfort persists or if the crown becomes loose or falls off, the patient may have to revisit the dentist for further correction and treatment.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Crown
The benefits that come along with a crown are the strengthening of the weakened or decayed teeth and a more appealing appearance. They act as a long term solution because of their durability. The high success rate of crowning, makes it a better option for many patients who would have otherwise resorted to other means of restoration or no treatment at all. The crowns are perfectly matched with the neighboring tooth and they form an integral part of the dental setup as far as shape, coloration and look are concerned.
Some of the disadvantages associated with tooth restoration through crowning, is the grinding away of the original tooth to make space for the crown. This is an irreversible process and is generally more expensive than direct methods of tooth restoration.
It is important to take extra care of the implanted crown, to avoid decay or any other dental issues. The problems usually arise at the point where the tooth connects with the cap. Regular brushing with good quality fluoride toothpaste will help avoid any such problem.