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Dental Crowns

What are dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are permanent covers that encase the entire tooth onto which they are cemented. They include porcelain crowns, gold alloy crowns, acrylic crowns and porcelain–bonded-to-metal crowns. They are used to strengthen teeth when rebuilding severely broken, cracked or decayed teeth and also act to improve the cosmetic appearance of teeth. The dentist may recommend crowns because of large fillings, improper bite, ageing of teeth, poor oral hygiene or after a root canal treatment.

Why is a Dental Crown needed

Dental crowns are used for many reasons, including:

  • Restoring a chipped, cracked or worn-down tooth
  • Protecting a weak tooth
  • Supporting a dental bridge
  • Covering a tooth with a large filling
  • Covering a dental implant
  • Covering misshaped or discoloured teeth.

Different types of Crowns

There are many different dental crowns available to suit anyone’s needs and budget. Permanent tooth caps can be made from materials including:

  • Metal – rarely chip or break, and they cause minimum wear to other teeth. However, because of their distinctive metal colour, these crowns are best for molars.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal – more popular choice as they can be colour-matched to your natural tooth
  • Resin – more affordable option compared to other crown types, but they wear down over time and are more susceptible to fractures than crowns made from other materials
  • Ceramic – ideal for front teeth. Not as strong as metal or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, but they provide the best natural colour match.

Risks involved with Crowns

Like any procedure there are always risks involved that patients should be made aware of before treatment such as;

  • Removal of healthy tooth structure: Preparing a tooth to receive a dental crown requires the removal of some enamel. At times, this enamel is perfectly healthy, but is removed to make room for the restoration.
  • Nerve damage: The tooth preparation process could result in the damage of your tooth’s nerve. If this occurs, root canal therapy or removal of the nerves may be required.
  • Tooth sensitivity: With crowns made partially or entirely of metal, sensitivity to heat and cold may occur. Your teeth naturally expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature, but artificial materials may react at a different speed, resulting in higher sensitivity. Special toothpastes can often lessen this side effect.
  • Bite misalignment/TMJ disorder:  Once a dental crown is placed, the dentist will check the fit in accordance with the surrounding teeth as well as the bite as a whole. If you experience headaches or TMJ pain after a dental crown procedure, it is important to see your dentist.
  • Infection: If your dental crown is not properly sealed or if damaged material is not completely removed, decay can spread. Additionally, dental crowns that are not properly cared for with brushing, flossing, and regular check – ups can increase your risk for further decay, damage, and disease.
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