Anatomically, a dental crown is the top portion of a tooth that is covered by enamel. It is the part which is outside of the gum and is visible to the outside world. But in dentistry, a dental crown is a prosthetic appliance used to entirely cover or ‘cap’ a damaged tooth. Unlike removable devices such as dentures, these are fixed into the teeth using dental cement and can only be implanted or removed by a dentist.
When are dental crowns recommended?
Some of the instances when dental crowns are recommended are:
- Restoration of damaged teeth: A dental crown is suggested to restore the form, function, and appearance of a badly damaged tooth. The damage could have happened due to natural causes such as erosion of tooth enamel due to constant chewing of hard foods or accidental damage to the teeth such as fracture or chipping.
- Large cavity and dental implants: In cases of a cavity that is too large for filling or has been treated multiple times, rendering the tooth prone to fracture or breaking, a crown is used instead. It is also used as a replacement tooth in combination with a dental implant.
- Cosmetic treatments: Patients are also recommended dental crowns when they are interested in making their teeth aesthetically pleasing. In case a patient has teeth that are out of shape, spaced too far apart, chipped, worn out or simply not uniform, a dental crown would be the best treatment solution. With the ceramic or porcelain fabrication, they can get any contour of their choice.
Choice of Crown
Crowns are generally made of porcelain or ceramic. For the rear teeth, which must be stronger than front teeth, they can also be made of gold, metal alloys, or simply acrylic or porcelain. The three most commonly used type of crowns are full metal crowns, full ceramic crowns and metal-ceramic crowns.
What is the procedure like?
Crowns are generally made by taking an impression of the tooth and using it as a reference for fabricating them in a dental laboratory. The dentist first prepares the tooth by removing its outer portion so the crown can fit. If needed, any decay is also removed so that chances of further tooth damage is avoided. Once the tooth is prepared, the dentist takes a digital print or makes a mold of the tooth impression. Meanwhile, a temporary crown is provided to the patient in case it is necessary. Once the crown is fully fabricated and ready to be placed, the patient is called for a second sitting and the procedure is completed. The fit and comfort of the crown will be checked using a bite test.
After successful restoration, oral hygiene must be maintained to ensure its long life. With evolving technology, Computer Aided Designing and Manufacturing is being applied for crown fabrication. This will not only reduce manual effort and time, but also lower the chances of human error occurring in the fabrication process.
Call us at (818) 789-2034 or schedule an appointment to have a consultation with Dr. Daniel Tebbi at our practice in Encino, CA.