Do you have a tooth that's decayed, cracked or otherwise severely damaged? A dental crown may be the best restoration option for you.
Think of a tooth crown as a hat or cap for a badly damaged tooth. It restores your smile, helping you feel more confident. Learn more about dental crowns, including your options and the benefits of getting one.
What Are Dental Crowns?
A dental crown is a tooth-colored and tooth-shaped cover. It rests on top of a damaged tooth and looks and feels just like your natural teeth. You can have a crown on any tooth in your mouth, from the front teeth to your molars.
While dental crowns can often rest on top of a natural tooth, in some cases, they are used along with dental implants to replace a destroyed tooth completely.
Why Would You Need a Dental Crown?
Your teeth see a lot of action over the years. They can take a beating and may not always live to tell the tale. Dental crowns restore a healthy, beautiful smile. You may be a good candidate for a crown if any of the following apply:
- You have a severely decayed tooth or teeth that can't be fixed with a filling.
- You have a tooth or teeth that are severely stained and can't be fixed with teeth whitening.
- You have a cracked or chipped tooth.
- You've had a root canal.
- You are getting dental implants.
- You have a dental bridge.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Crowns?
Deciding to get a crown is just the first step. There are several types of crowns available. The type that's right for you depends on your specific concerns, your schedule and your budget. Dental crown options include:
- Metal Crown: Metal crowns are long-lasting and strong. They won't chip or crack and usually don't require a lot of enamel removal if the dentist is placing them on top of an existing tooth. Various types of metal, including chromium, nickel and gold, are used to make metal crowns. The big drawback of metal crowns is that they're metal-colored and will stand out in your mouth.
- Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crown: A porcelain-fused-to-metal crown may offer a best-of-both-worlds option. You get the strength and durability of a metal crown with the appearance of porcelain, which more closely resembles a natural tooth. One drawback is that the porcelain coating can chip off or break and the crown may cause wear and tear on your neighboring teeth.
- Porcelain or Zirconia Crown: Porcelain crowns drop the metal entirely, so they look more like natural teeth. They're also a good choice for people who are allergic to metal. While various types of porcelain are available, a popular option is zirconia.
- Same Day Crown: Previously, getting a crown was a two-step process that involved at least two visits to your dentist's practice and a waiting period while your crown was prepared. Same Day Crowns do away with the waiting game. Instead of sending an impression of your tooth to a lab, your dentist can produce your crown in the office, using a CEREC machine. Same day crowns are made from ceramic, so they're entirely metal-free.
- Resin Crown: A resin crown has the shortest use life and the lowest cost of all the crown options. The crown is made from a plastic-like material lasting up to five years. They look like your natural teeth, which is a point in their favor. If you're not receiving a same day crown, your dentist will most likely use a resin crown as a temporary crown while you wait for the lab to send back the real one.
What Happens When You Get Dental Crowns in Charlotte?
The process of getting a crown varies depending on whether you're getting a same day crown or a traditional crown. Skyview Dentistry in Charlotte offers same day crowns, which means you'll walk out of our practice with a new crown after your first appointment.
When you arrive for your appointment, we'll examine your teeth and gums, then use the CEREC machine to scan your tooth. The machine takes images of your tooth, which are then sent to the milling machine.
Once the machine has the needed images, it produces your new crown from a ceramic block. While you wait for the machine to produce the crown, your dentist begins preparing your mouth. They'll clean the tooth and the surrounding area. Next, they'll remove enamel from the existing tooth, so they have space to place the crown.
When the crown is ready, they'll attach it to the remaining tooth or implant. You'll be ready to return home and show the world your new smile.
If, for whatever reason, you're not a candidate for a same day crown, the dentist will perform a traditional crown procedure. They'll take an impression of your tooth and send it off to a lab.
Instead of leaving that day with a new crown, you'll walk out of the office with a temporary crown in place. You'll typically need to wait two or three weeks, during which the lab produces your crown. Once your dentist's office has the new crown, they'll call you back for a second appointment. During that appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and put your permanent crown in its place.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Dental Crown?
A dental crown can give you confidence and restore a missing or damaged tooth. But it's not the right option for everyone. Before you decide to get a crown, consider the pros and cons of the treatment.
The pros of getting a crown include:
- They're long-lasting
- They protect your teeth
- They can look like natural teeth
- They make it easier to chew and speak
- They can improve the look of your smile
The cons of getting a crown include:
- They don't last forever
- They can make your teeth feel sensitive, particularly at the beginning
- Some crowns don't look as good or natural as others
- They can chip or crack
How Do You Take Care of a Dental Crown?
The best way to care for a dental crown is to treat it like it were a real tooth. Brush your crown with a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss on either side of it and consider using a mouthwash with antibacterial properties to rinse the crown clean.
It's important to see your dentist for regular teeth cleaning to protect your crown and the rest of your teeth from decay, gum disease and other mouth problems.
While you don't have to make major dietary changes after you get a crown, it helps to treat it with a little TLC. Skip the crunchy or sticky foods, as they can pull the crown loose or break it.
Do You Have to Replace a Crown?
With the right care, a dental crown can last for at least a decade, if not several. You may have to replace your crown, but ideally, that won't happen until 15, 20 or even 30 years in the future.
Contact a Cosmetic Dentist in Charlotte
If you have a tooth that's more than a little worse for wear and you want to know more about your dental crown options, we're here for you. Contact us today to learn more about same day crowns and your other cosmetic and restorative dentistry options in Charlotte.