A crown, also referred to as a cap, is a dental prosthesis used to fix grossly damaged teeth. Placing a crown on top of your tooth will protect the entire tooth portion above your gum line. Essentially, you restore your broken tooth back to its original, healthy format with crowns. By protecting your teeth against cavity bugs and traumatic bite forces, crowns make your broken teeth last much longer. A well designed crown should last you decades, maybe even a lifetime.
When do I need a crown on my tooth?
Generally, your need a crown on your tooth whenever a dental filling is not strong enough to protect your tooth. Small cavities and minor cracks can usually be fixed with just a dental filling. However, more severely damaged teeth can’t be fixed with a filling and require a crown instead. Here are some instances where your tooth is more likely going to need a crown over a filling:
Severely damaged teeth
Teeth with deep fractures or large cracks typically require a dental crown. Placing a filling on a tooth with a large defect will leave your tooth vulnerable to bite forces. Fillings do not protect your teeth against bite forces the way dental crowns do. Plus, large fillings do not create a proper seal and allow for bacteria to contaminate the tooth. Placing a crown on your tooth protects the tooth against both bite forces and recurring tooth cavities. Failing to place a crown on your tooth leads to more damage to your tooth and you will likely end up with a root canal or possibly lose your tooth atogether.
Root canal treated teeth need a crown
Most teeth which receive a root canal treatment will require a crown afterwards. Root canal therapy removes a lot of tooth structure and significantly weakens your tooth. By placing a crown on your tooth, you help strengthen and restore your tooth back to its original format. Otherwise, your tooth can split in half and you end up losing the root canal treated tooth!
Elective cosmetic crowns
Cosmetic crowns are primarily used to enhance the appearance of your front teeth. Cosmetic crowns can fix broken or discolored teeth, close small gaps and protect your teeth at the same time. In fact, you can rejuvenate your entire smile by placing cosmetic crowns on your front teeth. Unlike traditional crowns, cosmetic crowns are made from special ceramic material. Ceramic closely resemble your tooth structure and color and is also extremely durable. As a result, you get a more beautiful smile and stronger teeth.
Crowns for baby teeth!
Even children occasionally require a crown on their baby teeth. Ever noticed a kid with metal teeth in the back of his or her mouth? These are stainless steel crowns placed on top of the baby teeth. Stainless steel crowns protect and preserve damaged baby teeth. Losing baby teeth too early could lead to orthodontic issues. By placing a crown on baby teeth, you save the tooth and preserve the space for the erupting adult teeth. Plus, your child can continue talking and chewing his or her meals comfortably without having to adapt to the missing space.
What are dental crowns made from?
Back in the days, all crowns used to be made from gold alloys. With advancements with technology you rarely hear about gold crowns. Most crowns nowadays are made from porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic material. Here is more information about each type of dental crown:
Because gold is very sturdy and malleable it makes an excellent choice for fabricating dental crowns. Gold crowns are extremely durable and rarely ever break or fracture over time. However, gold has fallen off in popularity in dentistry within the last few decades. This is in part due to the high costs of gold as well as the patient’s preference for natural looking alternatives.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crown
Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, abbreviated PFM, consist of an inner metal layer and an outer porcelain layer. The metal provides strength against chewing pressure and absorbs your bite forces. The porcelain gives your crown a natural looking appearance to match your other teeth. PFM crowns are an excellent alternative to gold crowns and are very commonly used in dentistry. They are capable of restoring both front and back teeth with equally beautiful results.
Ceramic crowns are very high-quality and natural looking. Since ceramic is strong enough to handle your full bite forces on its own, there is no need for a metal substrate. Therefore, ceramic crowns don’t have any metal on the inside, the way that PFM crowns do. This makes ceramic crowns both sturdier and more aesthetically appealing than their PFM counterpart. Additionally, ceramic crowns age very well and maintain their appearance over many, many years.
WHAT IS THE BEST TYPE OF CROWN?
Ceramic crowns are starting to overtake PFM crowns as the material of choice in most dental practices. Due to their popularity, ceramic crowns now come in a variety of different options, such as e-max crowns or bruxzir crowns. E-max crowns are layered and they look very natural. Usually e-max crowns are used for restoring your front teeth. Bruxzir crowns are extremely sturdy and almost never break. These are ideal for restoring teeth in patients with a heavy bite or severe grinding habits.
Which is the best type of crown for my teeth?
Choosing the best type of crown for your teeth depends on many different factors. Gold crowns are not used as widely in the U.S. these days due to the high costs of gold. Among the other two options, PFM and ceramic crowns, they are both great options for restoring your damaged teeth. PFM and ceramic crowns are both great options, however, ceramic crowns are generally preferred over PFM crowns. Here is why:
Ceramic crowns look virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth. On the other hand, PFM crowns look similar but not always identical to your natural teeth. PFM crowns consists of an inner metal layer which reflects light differently than natural teeth. As a result, teeth with PFM crowns on them tend to look dimmer and have a fake looking appearance to them. Replacing your old PFM crowns with ceramic ones can enhance your smile and make you look more beautiful.
Ceramic crowns are much stronger than PFM crowns. Since ceramic crowns are one piece, they are less likely to fracture. On the other hand, PFM crowns typically fracture over time when the porcelain starts to strips off from the metal substrate. If you’re a heavy grinder or have a heavy bite, you should go with a strong ceramic crown instead of PFM crowns.
Ceramic crowns age better and maintain their looks and function over the years. On the other hand, PFM crowns change their appearance over time. As your gums recede over the years, the inner metal layer of PFM crowns starts to get exposed. This creates a purplish-bluish line where your PFM crown is meeting your gum lines. PFM crowns may not look as natural especially when placed on your front teeth.
Finally, ceramic crowns are easier to clean as compared to PFM crowns. This is primarily due to the bulk of PFM crowns at the margin where the porcelain and metal fuse to one another. This additional thickness causes PFM crowns to have more bleeding around teeth and also makes oral hygiene more challenging.
PFM crowns are still considered an excellent restorative option with plenty of implications in dentistry. PFM crowns are durable, natural-looking and work well for most patients. However, if there are high aesthetic demands or functional concerns, then you should consider a ceramic crown over a PFM crown.
What is the process of receiving a crown?
Here are the steps involved in preparing a tooth for a dental crown:
Tooth preparation for crown
Your crown preparation visit starts off like most other dentist visits by numbing your mouth. Typically, you will need about 1 to 3 shots to get numb enough for a crown procedure. Your dentist will trim your tooth down to fit your crown. During this process, your dentist also removes any tooth decay that you teeth may have. Your dentist will take scans or impressions of your prepared tooth. This allows your dentist to communicate the shape and size of your tooth with the dental laboratory. Finally, you will receive a temporary crown which you must wear until your final crown is prepared.
Crown delivery visit
You will receive your final crown today. Luckily, there are no needles involved in this appointment. Your dentist will try in your new crown to ensure that it is a good fit. We will take a few X-rays to verify that your crown is properly seated and that there are no gaps underneath. Your dentist will check your bite, access tooth contacts and double-check the color and shape of your new crown. Once everything checks out and you’ve approved the results, we will cement your crown with a strong glue. Your crown procedure is now complete and you just have to avoid eating until the cement sets in a few hour.
To learn more about dental crowns, contact Oceansight Dental & Implants in San Clemente today. Schedule your appointment with our office by calling (949) 481-2540. We offer all types of cosmetic crowns and will be happy to help you fix your teeth.
Dental crowns in San Clemente, Orange County
Be sure to give us a call If you need crowns, porcelain veneers or dental bonding. We are conveniently located in San Clemente, Orange County. You can reach us at (949)481-2540 or schedule your appointment online today. Our dentist, Dr. Jazayeri, will help you determine if your tooth needs a crown. We offer all types of crowns including PFM and ceramic crowns. We will help you choose the right type of crown for your needs. We will discuss financing options and offer payment plans if you’re interested. So don’t wait until you have a toothache or infection and call us today. You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy and affordable fixing your teeth can be. To learn about treatments related to crowns, click on the following:
A pus pocket containing harmful bacteria that forms around infected teeth. Teeth with abscess are considered infected and they either need root canal treatment or must be extracted.
Amalgam (silver filling)
Material used to fill dental cavities. Amalgam is silver colored and contains Mercury. As a filling material, Amalgam is durable and effective. However, there are some concerns about the safety of using Mercury to restore teeth.
Refer to premolar tooth please.
Canine tooth (cuspid or eye tooth)
A strong, pointed tooth with a single cusp used to direct other teeth as we chew side-to-side. Canine teeth are very strong and typically outlast all other teeth as we age. We have 4 total canines, teeth numbers: 6, 11, 22 and 27.
A hole inside a tooth created by harmful cavity bugs. Dental cavities can cause slight tooth sensitivity, particularly to cold and sweets. They can also be asymptomatic. If left untreated, dental cavities infiltrate the tooth pulp and cause abscess and infection.
Composite resin (white filling)
Material used to fill dental cavities and broken teeth. Composite resin is safe, effective and matches your tooth color. Cosmetic dentists prefer using composite resins to other filling restoration material due to their natural appearance.
A large restoration that replaces the majority of your tooth structure above the gum line. Crowns are used to fix teeth which can no longer be salvaged with a simple filling. Crowns are typically made from gold, porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic material.
Refer to cavity please.
Deep cleaning (scaling & root planning)
A type of dental cleaning which focuses on removing plaque and tartar underneath your gum line. Deep cleanings are used to treat gum disease. Most deep cleanings are performed in multiple sessions and often times require anesthesia.
Teeth cleaning performed by your dentist or hygienist. Dental cleaning focuses on removing plaque and tartar which can’t be removed by brushing or flossing alone. Dental cleanings are categorized as simple cleaning or deep cleaning.
The middle portion of your tooth which is located above the pulp and underneath the enamel. Unlike enamel, dentin has nerve endings which makes it sensitive to tooth decay.
Removable, false teeth used to replace your missing natural teeth. Dentures are made from pink and white acrylic. The pink portion secures your dentures in place and the white segment replaces your missing teeth. There are many different types of dentures including full dentures and partial dentures.
The very hard outer portion of your tooth. In fact, enamel is the hardest tissue found in our bodies. Enamel protects your tooth from cavities and provides it with the strength to cut and chew food.
Material used by dentists to replace missing tooth structure. Fillings are used to fix dental cavities and broken teeth. Fillings are made from gold (mostly obsolete), Amalgam (silver filling) or composite resin (white filling).
Full Denture (Complete denture)
A set of false teeth which replaces all of your teeth in one arch. Full dentures are held in place by the suction they provide against your gum tissue. Full dentures are typically made from pink and white acrylic.
The earlier stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is characterized by bleeding gums, bad breath and minor tooth sensitivity. If left untreated, gingivitis progresses to the more advanced stage of gum disease known as periodontitis.
Gum Disease (Periodontal disease)
Disease of the gums and jaw bone. Gum disease is caused by spread of harmful bacteria to your gum and jaw bone. Gum disease causes bleeding gums, bone loss and tooth loss. Gum disease is categorized as gingivitis and periodontitis.
A tooth which is trapped underneath your jaw bone. Impacted tooth typically refers to wisdom teeth, although other teeth can also be impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth usually need to be removed. Other impacted teeth need to be removed, monitored or uprighted by your orthodontist.
The front most four teeth in your upper and lower jaw. Incisor teeth are used to cut food particles. We have 8 total incisors, teeth numbers: 7, 8, 9, 10, 23, 24, 25 and 26.
Spread of harmful bacteria into your tooth nerve. Once cavity bugs reach your tooth nerve, the tooth is now infected. Infected teeth can only be fixed with a root canal or you must remove the tooth completely.
A type of crown which is a hybrid between fillings and crowns. Inlays are essentially conservative crowns which protect teeth similar to a crown but are conservative similar to a filling. Inlays are smaller than onlays and do not encompass your outer tooth walls.
Teeth located in the back of our mouth which have four cusps. Molar teeth are large and used to crush food particles. We have 8 total molars, teeth numbers: 2, 3, 14, 15, 18, 19, 30 and 31. Additionally, some of us have 3rd molars or wisdom teeth which are teeth numbers: 1, 16, 17 and 32.
Refer to pulp please.
A device worn at nights to protect your teeth against grinding. Night guards help reduce tooth fracture, TMJ pain and headaches. There are two types of night guards, generic night guards which you purchase online or from a local pharmacy and custom night guards which your dentist makes for you.
A type of crown which is a hybrid between fillings and crowns. Onlays are essentially conservative crowns which protect teeth similar to a crown but are conservative similar to a filling. Onlays are larger than inlays and encompass at least one or more of your outer tooth walls.
A set of false teeth which replaces some, but not all, of your missing teeth. Partial dentures are held in place by anchoring to your remaining teeth as well as suction against your gum tissue. Partial dentures can be made from different material including metals, acrylic and flexible resin.
Refer to gum disease please.
The more advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis is characterized by bone loss, major tooth sensitivity and loose teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis causes your teeth to loosen and fall out. Plus, the resulting infection can spread to the rest of your body and affect your overall health.
Premolar tooth (bicsupid)
Transitional teeth between our front and molar teeth. Premolars have two cusps and are used to crush food particles. They are also the teeth most commonly removed for braces treatment. We have 8 total bisupids, teeth numbers: 4, 5, 12, 13, 20, 21, 28 and 29.
The innermost tooth layer which lies underneath your dentin. Your tooth pulp contains nerves and blood vessels. When your tooth pulp becomes damaged this results in a toothache. Once this happens, you require a root canal treatment or must remove the tooth.
Pulpotomy is the equivalent of a baby root canal. It entails removing the nerve structure from infected baby teeth. Performing a pulpotomy eliminates toothache while allowing your child to keep the tooth itself in order to prevent potential orthodontic complications.
Root canal treatment
A procedure to remove infected tooth nerve to eliminate pain and infection. During root canal treatment your dentist will disinfect your tooth and replace the missing nerve with sterile material known as Gutta Percha. Root canal treatment eliminates pain and infection and allows you to keep the tooth.
Scaling & root planning
Refer to deep cleaning please.
A preventive treatment used to protect children’s teeth. Dental sealants are placed on teeth with deep groves, typically molars, to protect them against tooth decay and infection. Sealants are very effective and safe and do not require any tooth structure removal.
Techniques used to calm patients with anxiety during dental treatment. There are many different sedation techniques in dentistry such as Nitrous Oxide, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation and general anesthesia.
Refer to Amalgam please.
A dental cleaning performed in absence of gum disease. Simple cleanings typically entail basic tooth scraping and polishing, occasionally with Fluoride treatment. Most people require a simple cleaning once every 6 months, although if you’re suffering from gum disease you need one every 3 to 4 months.
Refer to wisdom tooth please.
Refer to composite resin please.
Wisdom tooth (third molar)
Tooth which is located all the way in the back of your mouth. Wisdom teeth start erupting in your late teens or twenties. Not everyone has wisdom teeth. For those that do, there’s a high probability that you have to remove these teeth. Otherwise, they will cause pain, swelling and infection.