When Is A Dental Crown Necessary?

Uses, Process, and Types of Crowns

What is a dental crown, or simply “crown”? It is basically a “cap” that your dentist places over your natural tooth that can still be saved. It encases the entire visible tooth, at and above the gumline. It looks like a tooth, of the same shade, shape and size as the tooth being replaced. The former tooth may be damaged, decayed, broken, or discolored, and the crown aims to restore its appearance and function.

What situations may need crowns? Crowns are needed in the following situations: to restore a broken or cracked tooth, or a severely worn down enamel, to protect a weakened tooth from further decay, to replace a tooth that has little structure left because of a large, removed filling, to cover a badly discolored tooth, to cover a dental implant, and to hold a dental bridge in position.

This is how crowns are made and attached. Your dentist first reshapes the crown of your tooth by filing, especially along the chewing areas to make room for the artificial cap (local anesthesia may be required). Then a paste or putty will make an accurate impression of the trimmed tooth (or a digital scanner if available) to include neighboring teeth so that the bite is not affected by the new crown.

This will be sent to a dental lab where the crown will be manufactured, allowing a week or so for its return. In the meantime, a temporary crown will be fitted. On your second visit, the temporary crown is removed and if the shade and fit of the new crown are acceptable, your dentist will permanently cement it in place. Local anesthetic applies as well.

There are different makes of permanent crowns depending on its purpose. There is the stainless steel crown, a prefabricated crown usually used as a temporary measure. Pediatric patients are ideal targets because it can fit over a primary tooth as protection until it falls off as the permanent tooth erupts.

Metal crowns have alloys with a high content of gold or platinum, or base-metal alloys like cobalt- chromium and nickel-chromium. They are very strong and durable. Its metallic color is a drawback, hence, they are more suitable for molars.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are a better color-match. Porcelain looks like normal teeth, but are prone to chipping or breaking, and the metal part may show through as a dark line sometimes. However, they are good for front or back teeth; also do well as long bridges because they provide strength. All-porcelain crowns, on the other hand, are more natural-looking and ideal for patients with metal allergies. All-resin crowns are less expensive than other crowns though not as durable against fractures.

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Learning More About Dental Crowns in Bellevue

If there is a need for you to replace a tooth or two because of decay, discoloration, or breakage, come see your Bellevue dentist here at Overlake and let’s talk about crowns.