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18 Jan 2022

Dental crowns: A complete guide

First of all, what is a dental crown and when is it necessary? Well, to answer the first question, dental crowns can be defined as the external and visible part of the tooth, which can be natural or artificial.

It is also commonly known as a veneer.

The function of dental crowns, both natural and artificial, is essential for humans to be able to eat comfortably. Without these bony or ceramic structures, the chewing process is made more difficult, which is why they must be strong and hard.

When do we refer to an artificial dental crown?

An artificial dental crown is a reconstructive and cosmetic dental treatment used to cover a damaged tooth. A crown is used when a dental filling cannot completely replace a tooth or to completely cover the affected tooth to restore its size and shape, making it strong and functional again.

What does a bridge have to do with a crown?

A bridge is defined as a set or union of several dental crowns. Both are fixed prostheses that are attached to the tooth or to an implant.

When should a dental crown be used?

When a crown is required for the following reasons:

  • When a caries is very large and produces wear and tear and after the restoration there is very little of the natural tooth left.
  • Pathologies such as bruxism have worn down the tooth.
  • A broken or chipped tooth.
  • Deformed teeth that have stains or do not match the aesthetics of the other teeth.

How is a dental crown fitted?

A dental crown or bridge is fitted using the following steps:

  1. The size of the affected tooth is reduced so that the crown or bridge fits properly.
  2. A dental impression is taken to make a custom-made mould.
  3. Subsequently, the final model of the crown or bridge is made in the laboratory using the material selected by the dentist. Normally, a provisional crown is placed while the final piece is being made.
  4. When the final mould is ready, the provisional crown is removed and the final crown or bridge is cemented.

What types of dental crowns are there?

When we talk about the types of crowns we are referring to the material they are made of. Below we are going to name the most common ones:

Porcelain crowns

Porcelain crowns are the most aesthetic but the most fragile. Their function is to restore the shape of the original teeth.

This type of material provides more natural colours in the crowns, which will give the patient a beautiful and very natural smile.

They are usually used for front teeth, as they are the most aesthetic.

Metal-porcelain crowns

Crowns or caps made of metal-porcelain are stronger than porcelain crowns. The metal is on the inside of the crown and covered with porcelain.

They are usually placed on the back teeth (premolars and molars) to avoid the metal showing on the edge of the crown and because they are the teeth that wear the most over the years.

Metal crowns

The materials required for their manufacture are usually gold, chrome, palladium or nickel. They are usually very durable, but are rarely used nowadays.

Resin crowns

This type of material is usually used for temporary crowns. As it is a soft material, it is easy to remove and, in addition, it protects the restored tooth until the fixed model is ready.

Zirconium crowns

Zirconium crowns, like metal crowns, are resistant, but they are also aesthetic as they reflect light, which allows them to have the appearance of a real tooth.

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure normally takes about 3 weeks. This is the time it takes for the measurement to be taken, the final mould to be made by the laboratory technician and for it to be fitted.

Does it hurt?

The procedure for a dental crown is painless, you only feel a small amount of pressure where it is placed. It is a custom-made piece designed to fit perfectly to protect the tooth we want to protect.

Dental crown treatment recovery

The recovery of the dental crown treatment, in some cases, can cause sensitivity, discomfort and even pain. This is normal due to the inflammation and irritation that occurs in the affected area.

Discomfort after treatment

Most patients experience pain after the implementation of the dental crown. Analgesics are often prescribed to help manage pain and make recovery more comfortable.

Sensitivity in the surrounding gums due to irritation caused by the cement used to attach the crown is also very common in recovery. A tooth sensitivity cream or analgesic gel will usually help to reduce the sensitivity.

If the pain lasts for several weeks or is very severe, you should visit your dental clinic to have your situation examined.

In some cases it is normal that the crown does not fit correctly to the shape of the mouth, if you notice that the bite does not fit as usual, see your dentist for the correct adaptation of the crown.

Tips for the care of the dental crown

Dental crowns, like natural teeth, must be cared for so that they last as long as possible in our oral cavity. The main thing is to maintain good hygiene to avoid caries or periodontal diseases.

Caries and periodontal diseases

Good oral health is essential to prolong the duration of any treatment. But, in particular, preventing cavities or diseases with the dental crown is essential for its maintenance.

The dental crown cannot suffer from decay, but the tooth underneath it can, as well as periodontal disease. This puts the stability of the crown at risk. And, in the worst case scenario, if either of these two diseases becomes complicated, the abutment tooth that supports the crown can be lost.

To prevent this situation, the ideal is to brush your teeth an average of 3 times a day and floss before going to bed.

Pressure

Extreme pressure can wear down the dental sheath. Here is a list of things you should avoid if you wear a crown:

  • Don’t use your teeth as tools to open things, like bottles, for example.
  • Don’t bite your nails.
  • Don’t bite down on hard foods, such as ice.

Visit the dentist regularly

At Nart Clínica Dental we recommend that you visit your dentist regularly, 2 or 3 times a year, to keep your dental health under control and avoid possible illnesses. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Dr. Luis Nart Molina

Doctor Luis Nart Molina is a specialist in Prosthodontics and Dental Aesthetics. He has a degree in Dentistry from the UIC and certified in Advanced Prosthodontics. He has also trained at the Southern California University (Los Angeles) and is a member of the Spanish Society of Prosthetics and Stomatology (SEPES).

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