Dental crowns are also called caps which are used to cover an existing tooth or an implant which has been made into the jaw bone. These caps or crowns are then permanently affixed to the tooth or implant for a lasting solution. They are not only used to replace missing teeth, but may also be used to enhance the appearance of teeth which have become damaged and may have lost their original natural colouring or shape.
Installation of Porcelain Crowns
Prior to preparation of the crown your dentist will consult with you to determine whether your reason for wanting a crown is purely cosmetic or functional. Either reason is perfectly valid. The dentist will then carry out an oral examination to ascertain the condition of the tooth or teeth needing attention to give you the best option for your crown.
In this session x-rays may be done to determine the extent of the damage and if there is any evidence of infection, root canal therapy may be recommended to treat and resolve it prior to the crown being applied.
The dentist will take an impression of the tooth or post implant over which the crown will be placed. The impression made will then be sent to the lab so that the cap can be manufactured. The tooth will then be shaved down so that the crown can fit properly over the entire visible surfaces of the tooth. The crown will then be bonded with a strong resin which is permanent. It is cured by means of a special light.
Types of Porcelain Crowns
While there are several types of dental crowns, there are actually two types of porcelain crowns.
- All porcelain crowns, which are made fully of porcelain and provide the best match in terms of colour, to actual teeth. They are not as strong as metal, alloy or porcelain-metal crowns, but they are still very durable and may even put pressure on your other teeth if you tend to grind during your sleep. They can sometimes become loose overtime, but can last a lifetime with proper daily maintenance and regular dental check-ups.
- Porcelain crowns fused to metal offer better durability than all porcelain crowns, and can also be matched to the natural colour of your teeth. They cause more wearing to the teeth opposite them than other crown types and at times it is possible for the porcelain part of the crown to separate from the metal. The metal is placed on the inside of the crown for added strength and in some cases you may be able to see a thin line of darkness at the base of the tooth where the metal may show through. Based on the strength offered by this type is crown it can be used to replace multiple teeth in a bridge and is also suitable for the larger back teeth as well.
Benefits of Porcelain Crowns
Crowns strengthen damaged teeth and also help to improve their appearance. They help in the correction or retention of proper bite, help to fill gaps in teeth and also serve to keep the teeth in place which would naturally shift due to the available space. They are not allergy causing as in the case of metal or alloy crowns, where some people react adversely, and they restore normal functionality to the mouth.
How to Care for Porcelain Crowns
Porcelain crowns require pretty much similar care to your natural teeth when it comes to brushing. Use a fluoride toothpaste which is not abrasive. Extra care needs to exercised when flossing crowns though. Instead of doing the sweep below the gum line as you would with your normal teeth, it is advised that when you slide the floss between the teeth, that you pull it straight through.
This is to avoid putting too much pressure on the cap and avoid loosening it, since it does not project below the level of the gum line. This make is important to keep your regular dental visits, since your dentist as the right tools and set of skills to clean below the gums of those crowns and help you prevent gum disease.
Try to avoid chewing foods which are too hard and have the potential to break or crack your crown.
If you continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, your crown should last a lifetime, however, it has occurred where some people have experienced some issues between 5 and 15 years, which is still a significant period of time.
Be conscious not to clench your teeth too much, bite your nails and grind your teeth, which put extra wear and tear on the crowns and may wear the surfaces or make them become rough. When this happens they affect the other teeth which come into contact with them, putting them under extra pressure as well.