A crown, commonly referred to as cap, is a dental prosthesis used to fix grossly damaged teeth. Placing a crown on top of your tooth, you protect the entire portion of your tooth above the gum line. Crowns restore your broken teeth back to their original, healthy form. They also protect your teeth against cavity bugs and traumatic bite forces. A well-designed crown could last you for decades, sometimes even a lifetime.
When do I need a crown on my tooth?
Generally speaking, you need a crown on your tooth whenever a dental filling is not strong enough to protect it. Small cavities and minor cracks can usually be fixed with a dental filling. However, more severely damaged teeth can not be restored adequately with a filling, so they require a crown instead. Here are some instances where your tooth is more likely to require a crown:
Severely damaged teeth
Placing a filling on a tooth with a large defect will leave your tooth vulnerable to bite forces. Fillings do not protect teeth against bite forces the way that dental crowns do. Plus, large fillings do not properly seal off your tooth, allowing bacteria to contaminate your tooth. Teeth with deep fractures, large cracks, and enormous cavities typically require a crown instead of a filling. Placing a crown on your tooth protects it against bite forces and recurring cavities. Failing to place a crown on your tooth can lead to more extensive damage to your tooth. As a result, you're likely to end up with a root canal or even lose your tooth.
Restoring teeth with a root canal
Teeth that have received a root canal typically require a crown afterward. Root canal therapy removes a lot of tooth structure and it significantly weakens your tooth. By placing a crown, you help strengthen and restore your tooth back to its original form. Otherwise, your tooth could 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. You can fix broken or discolored teeth, close small gaps, and protect broken teeth by placing cosmetic crowns on them. Unlike traditional crowns, cosmetic crowns are made from special ceramic material. The ceramic closely resembles your tooth structure. Cosmetic crowns match your teeth color very closely and they maintain their appearance for years to come.
Crowns for baby teeth
Even children occasionally require a crown on their baby teeth! Ever noticed kids who have metal teeth in the back of their mouth? These are stainless steel crowns which are placed on top of baby teeth. Stainless steel crowns protect and preserve baby teeth. Losing your baby teeth too early could lead to orthodontic issues. By placing crowns on baby teeth, you save these teeth to preserve the space required the erupting adult teeth. Plus, your child can continue to talk and chew 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 anymore. Most crowns nowadays are made from porcelain-fused-to-metal or ceramic. Here's a closer look at the most common material used to make dental crowns:
Gold is very sturdy and malleable which makes it an excellent choice for fabricating dental crowns. Gold crowns are extremely durable and they rarely ever break or fracture. 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 more 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 for strength against chewing pressure and absorbs your bite forces. The porcelain gives your crown a natural-looking appearance to match your natural teeth. PFM are very commonly used in dentistry as they are capable of restoring both front and back teeth with equally beautiful results.
Ceramic crowns are very high-quality and natural-looking in their appearance. Ceramic is strong enough to handle your full bite forces on its own, therefore there is no need for a metal substrate. As a result, ceramic crowns don't have any metal on the inside the way that PFM crowns do. This makes ceramic crowns more aesthetically appealing than their PFM counterpart. Ceramic crowns age very well and they typically maintain their appearance for many, many years to come.
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 and bruxzir crowns. E-max crowns are layered to make them look extremely natural. Dentists use e-max crowns to restore your front teeth. Bruxzir crowns are extremely sturdy and they almost never break. These are the ideal restoration option for patients with a heavy bite or severe teeth grinding habits.
Which is the best type of crown for my teeth?
Selecting 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. PFM and ceramic crowns are the most common options for restoring damaged teeth. These are both great options for restoring your broken teeth, however, ceramic crowns are generally preferred over PFM crowns. Here's why:
Ceramic crowns look virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth. PFM crowns look very similar to your natural teeth, but they are not always identical to your natural teeth. This is because PFM crowns have an inner metal layer which reflects light differently than natural teeth. As a result, teeth with PFM crowns tend to look dimmer and have a fake-looking appearance to them. Replacing your old PFM crowns with new ceramic ones can enhance your smile.
Ceramic crowns are 5 to 6 times stronger than PFM crowns. Since ceramic crowns are one piece, they are less likely to fracture under bite forces. On the opposite hand, PFM crowns are likely to fracture over time when the porcelain strips off from the metal substrate. If you're a heavy grinder or have a heavy bite, you should highly consider upgrading to ceramic crowns instead of PFM crowns.
Ceramic crowns age well and they maintain their looks over the years. PFM crowns are likely to change their appearance with time. As your gums recede, the inner metal layer of PFM crowns starts to become exposed. This creates a purplish-bluish line where your PFM crown is meeting your gum line. Therefore, 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 and makes oral hygiene much more challenging.
Despite their disadvantages, PFM crowns are still considered an excellent restorative option with plenty of implications in dentistry. PFM crowns are durable, natural-looking, and they work well for most patients. However, if you have high aesthetic demands or functional concerns, then you should consider a ceramic crown instead of a PFM crown.
What is the process of receiving a crown?
Fitting your tooth for a crown takes a bit of work. Here are the steps involved in preparing your tooth for a dental crown:
Tooth preparation process
Your crown preparation visit starts off like most other dentist visits, by numbing up your mouth. Typically, you need about 2 to 3 shots to get numb enough for a crown procedure. Once numb, your dentist will trim down your tooth to fit a crown. During this process, your dentist also removes any tooth decay or fractures on your tooth. Then, 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 receive your final crown once it's ready. Some dentists make their crown using a milling machine in a few hours. Others send it out to a local laboratory and deliver your crown a few days later. Either way, this is an easy appointment as there are no needles involved. Your dentist will try in your new crown to ensure that it's a good fit. They take a few X-rays to verify that your crown is properly seating. Your dentist will check your bite, evaluate tooth contacts, and double-check the fit of your new crown. Once everything checks out and you've satisfied with the look and fit of your new crown, your dentist will cement your crown using a special glue. Your crown procedure is now complete! Be sure to follow your dentist's instruction and avoid eating until the cement has fully set in a few hours.
Dental crowns in San Clemente, Orange County
Give us a call If you're looking for crowns to restore your broken teeth. 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 offer financing options and payment plans if you're interested in them. Don't wait until you have a toothache or infection and give us a call today!
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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.