About the last thing you want is to have a tooth extracted. Sometimes, however, a tooth’s strength can be compromised by a deep crack or an overly large cavity. Now the tooth is weakened, and it probably won’t survive the daily forces involved in biting and chewing. To save a tooth in this condition, at Broadway Family Dentistry we use dental crowns. A crown returns the strength, appearance, and function of a tooth.
What is a Dental Crown?
When it comes to a tooth, you can think of it as two parts, the root, and the crown. The root is anchored into the jawbone and is covered by the gums. The visible upper portion of the tooth is called the clinical crown. An artificial restoration that covers the entire clinical crown is called a dental crown.
If you’re a little older, you may have heard crowns referred to as “caps.” This was a term used frequently when crowns were made predominantly of gold. The term probably came from the way a crown fits over the top of the tooth, like a cap. But unlike a cap, a crown fits over the entire visible portion of the tooth down to the gum line. It restores the original size and shape of the natural tooth, plus it returns strength to the tooth and eliminates the need for extraction.
Why Do I Need a Dental Crown?
- Covers and supports tooth
- Attaches to a bridge or implant
- Protects weak tooth from breakage
- Repairs broken teeth
- Treat discolored or misshapen teeth
What are crowns made from?
At Broadway, we prefer to specify porcelain for our crowns, although crowns can also be made from gold or composite resin. Porcelain is incredibly strong. Plus, porcelain closely resembles natural tooth enamel in the way it partially absorbs and partially reflects light. Dental porcelain is very resistant to staining, as well.
What dental problems do you use crowns to fix?
Crowns can be restorative, aesthetic, or functional. As mentioned above, they restore the strength to a damaged tooth. But we also place crowns on certain teeth to improve their aesthetic appearance, when a tooth is misshapen, for instance. Crowns also function as anchors for dental bridges.
Here are typical dental problems where a crown may be used:
- Teeth with overly large fillings
- Severely worn-down teeth
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Heavily decayed teeth
- Teeth with decay that already have a filling
- Misshapen teeth
- Severely discolored teeth
- Teeth that have had a root canal
Who is an Ideal Candidate for a Dental Crown?
An ideal dental crown candidate is any patient that is committed to keeping their teeth. Although crowns are a bigger investment than fillings, crowns are much more effective in decreasing the risk of fractures in teeth.
What is Involved in a Dental Crown Procedure?
Placing a crown on a tooth requires two appointments with Dr. Hirst or Dr. Jensen. The first appointment is all about preparing the tooth. Any damaged or decayed areas of the tooth are removed first, and the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. If the patient’s teeth have some staining from foods or beverages such as coffee, we may want to whiten the teeth first to return them to their natural color. Next, the tooth is shaved down on all sides and the top. This is necessary to make room for the crown — the crowned tooth needs to be the same size as the natural tooth was before. Now, we take photographs and impressions of your teeth. We send these to the dental lab to guide their fabrication of your custom crown. To protect the tooth while we await the fabrication of your crown (the process usually takes around two weeks), a temporary crown is placed on your tooth.
When your finished crown arrives, you return for your second appointment. We again clean your teeth. Then the crown is tested for fit and for a color match with your adjacent teeth. When you are satisfied with the fit, the crown is permanently cemented to your tooth. You can immediately use your new, stronger, crowned tooth; no waiting or recovery is necessary.
Do I need a root canal before having a dental crown?
There is some misunderstanding here. If a tooth needs a root canal, decay has entered the interior pulp. Once Dr. Hirst or Dr. Jensen clean out the entire inner tooth and fill it with gutta-percha, it is usually sealed with a composite resin filling, and then a crown is placed over the tooth. This is usually necessary to ensure the strength of the tooth moving forward, as it is not going to be extracted.
However, a tooth doesn’t necessarily need a root canal but could still need a crown. A large chip or crack, extensive decay, or even cosmetic reasons could all merit the placement of a crown on the tooth without any need for a root canal.
How long do dental crowns last?
Porcelain is very durable, and porcelain crowns can last up to two decades. Gold crowns last decades, but they are completely visible. Resin crowns will last from 8-15 years. The longevity of your crown is somewhat up to you; your home hygiene regimen is important because, while the crown won’t decay, the tooth under it can.
Do I have other options other than a dental crown?
A crown is basically the last chance a tooth has before extraction. Problems such as a deep crack or a large cavity that threaten to break the tooth cannot be solved without a crown. However, if you don’t mind extracting the tooth, then a dental implant or a bridge could be used in place of the damaged (then extracted) tooth.
What is the Difference Between a Dental Crown and Dental Veneers?
A dental crown covers the whole tooth typically. Crowns can be used on any tooth and often serves to protect susceptible teeth from fracture, in addition to changing the look of teeth. Dental veneers are much thinner and are usually only used on front teeth. They are used only to change the shape, size, or color of teeth.
Will my crowned tooth feel different than my other teeth?
No. Dr. Hirst and Dr. Jensen go to great lengths to ensure your crown fits into your natural bite perfectly. Once we are sure this is the case, your crowned tooth won’t feel any different than any tooth in your mouth. Remember, your natural tooth is still the basis; it is simply covered by the crown.
Are dental crowns safe?
There isn’t any risk at all with a crown. A crown simply covers the natural tooth, returning strength, and allowing the patient to keep the natural tooth. There aren’t any incisions required, so there aren’t any risks of infection.
See What Our Patients Have To Say…
“The staff is so friendly and helpful. I went in for a cleaning and crowns and Dr. Ella Dekhyar & staff did a wonderful job – I can’t stop smiling! I definitely would recommend to others!”– Vane A.
“I had a great experience. the staff was attentive and efficient. they made me feel at ease and comfortable. This office is highly recommendable. they also speak Spanish and Russian.”– Brocolli R.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
Our restorative goal is always to help you restore your smile to its optimal function as well as for you to be happy about your smile. At your next visit, we would be happy to help you determine if dental crowns are appropriate for your smile.
Broadway Family Dentistry in Minot, ND proudly provides patients from Minot, Williston, Garrison, New Town, Rugby, Bismark, and Devils Lake, ND, with dental crown services. Call (701) 839-1299 or fill out a Contact Form here for any questions or to schedule an appointment.