Dental Crowns 101

Dental Crowns 101

If you’ve been told you need a crown on one of your teeth, you may have questions. In this article, we’ll talk all about dental crowns – what they do, what they are made of, why you might need one, and what to expect during and after your new crown.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap placed over your tooth. You may also hear the term “dental caps”. A crown and a cap are the same thing. Tooth crowns are used when your dentist needs to fix cracked or broken teeth, or when a tooth is worn-down, decayed, or weak. They can also be used when a tooth is severely discolored, or to cover a dental implant or to help anchor other dental appliances. A properly fitted crown restores the look and function of your teeth and will stop the progression of decay in the affected natural tooth. Crowns are very common – many people will have a crown placed on a tooth at some point in their lives. Even children may need to have a crown in some situations.

What are tooth crowns made of?

Dental crowns are made from resin, metal, ceramic, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Your dentist will recommend the best option for your unique situation. Today’s Dental offers several crown options, including Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or “CEREC” crowns. These crowns are crafted with computer imaging and can be placed on your teeth in one visit. They are made from zirconia, ceramic, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. CEREC crowns are almost impossible to distinguish from natural teeth. The natural look and quick treatment time makes CEREC crowns a popular option. The material used for your crown will depend on your needs and budget. Porcelain-fused metal crowns are often the least expensive. Crowns made from a very strong ceramic material made of Zirconium Dioxide are typically the most expensive. CEREC crowns can be a moderately priced option.

Why do I need a crown?

Most commonly, you need a crown to restore a tooth that is no longer as strong as it once was. A crown can be used to:

Does it hurt to get a crown?

Getting a crown does not hurt. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic (numbing medicine), so you will not feel pain during the treatment. You may experience mild discomfort, and you may feel some slight pressure as your dentist works on your tooth. The anesthetic will work quickly, so you won’t feel any pain while your dentist prepares your tooth and installs the crown. You may have soreness in the area for a few days, and some people experience increased sensitivity for a couple of weeks after the treatment. This is perfectly normal. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil) to help alleviate discomfort. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label when taking pain medicines. Most people can return to normal activities immediately following the placement of their crown.

Do crowns require special care?

The care of your crown is just like the care of your other teeth. You should brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice per day. You should floss between your teeth daily and consider using antibacterial mouthwash. And you should continue visiting the dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and exam. Your dentist will check on your crown to be sure it is performing as expected. If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, you may need to wear a mouth guard at night to help protect your teeth and crowns.

Will I be able to eat whatever I want after my crown?

Crowns are generally very strong. However, they are not indestructible, and you will have to avoid or use caution with some types of food following the placement of your crown. You should avoid eating anything that is very hard and crunchy like ice cubes, hard nuts, or the popcorn kernels you find at the bottom of your popcorn bowl. You should also avoid or be very cautious with foods that are extra sticky. Caramel, taffy, and other hard candies can stick to the surface and could potentially pull off your crown.

What else should I know about dental crowns?

Today’s tooth-colored crowns look very natural – most people won’t even know you have a crown. If you get a traditional crown, you can expect to have two office visits. One visit to take measurements, prepare your tooth for a crown, and place a temporary crown to wear while the permanent one is made. Then you’ll have a second visit to install the permanent crown. For a CEREC crown, your dentist will use special computer-assisted technology to create and install a permanent crown in just one office visit – saving you time and money. If you ever experience a sudden increase of sensitivity or pain in the area of your crown, persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth – you should visit your dentist. If your crown becomes loose, food can get trapped and bacteria can grow and cause decay. If you follow your dentist’s instructions for care of your crown, use caution with hard and sticky foods, and get regular dental check-ups, your beautiful new crown should last anywhere from five to fifteen years. Other questions about dental crowns? Our experienced staff at Today’s Dental is here to help- call us today.

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