If you have a weak, cracked, or severely discolored tooth, you might be interested to know how dental crowns work. Dental crowns are tooth-shaped “caps” that are placed over your teeth by your dentist to help restore their structure or improve their appearance. When cemented into place, a crown will fully encase the visible portion of your tooth at and above the gum line. Your dentist might recommend a dental crown if you have a large cavity that threatens the health of your tooth. And in some cases, crowns are used on children to protect baby teeth that cannot support a filling. To learn more about how dental crowns work, please scroll down.
Caring for Your Crown
Permanent crowns can be made from stainless steel, all metal (such as gold or another alloy), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic (source). On average, dental crowns last between 5 and 15 years. However, the lifespan of your crown depends on wear and tear and how well you follow good oral hygiene practices. Grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting fingernails, and using your teeth to open packaging can shorten the lifespan of your dental crown.
Although your dental crown doesn’t require special care, you should continue to practice good oral hygiene habits. A crowned tooth is not resistant to decay in the long term. Instead, crowns are meant to restore the size and shape of damaged teeth, cover a cracked tooth, cover an implant, or improve the appearance of a tooth. Your specific dental needs will ultimately determine how your crown is made and what it is made from.
How Dental Crowns Work
Still wondering how dental crowns work? For starters, they can be temporary fixes or permanent solutions. A temporary crown is typically used during the process of creating and installing a permanent crown. This process can take place over multiple weeks and visits to the dentist. However, 3D imaging technology has made it possible for dentists to create crowns in less than half the time.
Now, you can choose between traditional crowns and Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or CEREC crowns, which can be created and placed in just a couple hours. That’s one dentist appointment! Your dentist can further explain the advantages and disadvantages of each kind of crown, but we’ve compiled some of the highlights below.
Traditional Dental Crowns
The process of making traditional dental crowns includes a number of steps. First, your dentist will prepare and take impressions of the teeth involved. Then, as mentioned above, temporary crowns or bridges will be placed on your teeth. Meanwhile, your impressions are sent to the lab, where a mold of your teeth is poured and manufactured. Once the mold is complete, it is sent back to the office, where your dentist will inspect the mold and make any necessary adjustments. Finally, you will come back into the office and your dentist will cement the crowns to your teeth.
In contrast, high-quality CEREC crowns typically take only two and a half hours for the entire procedure. CEREC is a relatively new technology and is standard for most crowns at Duff Family Dental. This system uses 3D photography and computer-aided design (CAD) software, which allow our dentists to design custom crowns that perfectly match your mouth and surrounding teeth.
First, we use an intraoral scanner to make a precise digital image of your teeth. Then, that image is converted into crowns via computer-aided manufacturing right in our office. The crowns are made from a single block of ceramic or resin and bonded to your teeth with adhesives. Patients love that CEREC crowns are quick, durable, and metal free.
Find a Dental Solution That’s Right for You
By understanding how dental crowns work, you can make better decisions regarding your dental restoration plan. Don’t let weak, broken, or discolored teeth prevent you from enjoying the activities you love. To improve the health and appearance of your smile, contact Duff Family Dental today. We offer a full line of cosmetic, pediatric, and restorative dentistry services. Call us at 417-501-8601 or schedule an appointment today!