As we get older, our teeth ages together with us. Even with proper care, decay, trauma, fillings and even the way you chew will wear out our teeth.
How do we prevent our teeth from wearing down even more? One of the treatments for this include placing a dental crown over a weaker tooth can help.
Let us discuss further on dental crowns as a potential treatment for your teeth.
What are Dental Crowns?
So, what are these crowns that are placed over our tooth/ teeth? A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” or also known as a fixed dental prosthesis which covers the whole or part of a tooth/ implant. The crown covered over the tooth either temporarily or permanently is aimed to restore its shape & size, strength, and improve its appearance.
Usually, the temporary crown or provisional crown is placed while waiting for the permanent prosthesis. The function of the cemented crown on tooth is similar with the function of normal dentition.
Crowns are also used to restore stained or misshaped teeth, as well as to shelter a tooth that has had a root canal. Most dental crown procedures take one day to complete.
Types of Dental Crowns
So, what kinds of permanent dental crowns are available in the market? Each type will have their unique advantages and disadvantages, but as of now, it is good to know that there are 4 main types:
All-Metal/ Gold Alloy Crowns
Metal crowns, inclusive of gold alloy and a combination of copper and other metals, such as nickel or chromium provide a number of perks over other dental crown types. The material is highly resistant to corrosion and gentle against neighbouring teeth. It will also not wear away the underlying tooth and are also biocompatible with gum tissue.
Advantages: Strong, durable and highly resistant, ideal for posterior restorations (back teeth), requires the least amount of healthy tooth to be removed prior to fitting
Disadvantages: Poor aesthetics, can affect some people & produce some side effects such as allergic reactions or swelling.
Ceramic/ Porcelain-fused-to-metal Crowns
The most common restorative material for dental crowns and bridges is a mixture of ceramic or porcelain and metal. The chemical reaction caused by mixing the two creates a durable bond and provides the patient with a natural-looking tooth that is ultra-durable.
However, a moderate amount of tooth structure must be removed for this crown to be installed.
Advantages: Durable and visually looks most like normal teeth due to their natural colour and texture, can be a good choice for front/ back teeth & long bridges
Disadvantages: Cause more wearing to the opposing teeth, risk of the porcelain portion of the crown being chipped or break off, and sometimes the metal underlying the crown's porcelain can show through as a dark line; not well suited for molars and pre-molars, as ceramic can become brittle when exposed to heavy biting forces.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are typically a temporary solution used to protect a tooth or filling while a permanent crown (made from a different material) is being prepared.
They are often used to restore primary (baby) teeth for children to protect the teeth from additional decay. When the permanent tooth arrives, the crown comes out naturally with it.
Disadvantages: Only used as a temporary measure before a permanent crown arrives
All-resin crowns are also referred to as ‘composite resin’ crowns as they are made from composite resin material, which is a combination of plastic type materials that are colour matched to the natural teeth. Resin is a thinner and more fragile material than other dental restorations, such as metal and porcelain.
Resin restorations are only used as a temporary measure on decayed baby teeth, rather than permanent teeth.
Advantages: Less expensive than other crown types
Disadvantages: Wear down over time and do not last as long, more prone to fractures wear and tear
How and When Do I Need a Dental Crown?
There are a few situations where a dental crown may be required as a choice of treatment:
Failure of Restoration
A huge restoration can easily fracture the tooth itself and the restoration alone is unable to hold the tooth and may cause it to crack or fracture. The dental crown is to protect the tooth so that the tooth can function well and last longer.
Cracked Tooth/ Worn Dentition
Your teeth may crack based on several reasons and can involve chewing on ice or nuts. A cracked tooth is likely in cases of repeated filling, trauma, caries and grinding at night.
A worn tooth on the other hand has sharp, irregular, short and sensitive surface.
The dental crown will help to save the tooth from getting worse, otherwise, the crack will become worse and the tooth needs to be extracted.
Aesthetics/ Cosmetic Modification
If an individual is concerned with their teeth-related appearance like teeth alignment, shape and shade, a dental crown can be a choice of aesthetic restoration.
Root Canal Treatment
When a tooth’s physical structure is weakened caused by tooth decay, a root canal might be needed. A dental crown in this case is used to restore the tooth to optimise oral function. However, not all root canal treated tooth is indicated for crown.
Dental Caries/ Tooth Decay
Caused by bacterial infection that weakens the tooth structure and creates cavity on the tooth surface. The dental crown will protect the remaining healthy tooth structure after the direct filling is done with the affected tooth.
Besides adults, children may need crowns as well on their baby teeth should there be damage or decay due to poor oral hygiene.
Dental Crowns: Cost & Complications
According to the Ministry of Health Singapore, different public institutions will quote and charge differently, ranging from SGD700 to SGD1300. This price may vary according to private institutions as well.
After the procedure, some may experience some soreness and slight pain when biting down or chewing. The change in temperatures may also cause sensitivity for a few days.
Please consult your dentist if the complications persist.
Dental Crown Care
A dental crown may not last forever, and may need to be replaced if it has faulty or worn down. However, on average dental crowns last between 5 and 15 years. The lifespan of the crown is based on several factors:
- Resources used to create the crown
- How well you maintain your oral hygiene
- The condition of the surrounding teeth and gums
- The food and drinks you consume
However, just because a tooth has a crown also doesn’t mean the tooth is protected from decay or gum disease.
It is important to continue your best oral care and hygiene practices, paying more attention around the crown area and where the gum meets the tooth.
Do you think your teeth needs a dental crown?
Schedule an appointment with your preferred dentist(s) on WhatsDoc to find out more about dental crowns and whether they are necessary for your pearly whites!
9. Dental Crown