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Dental Crown

Dental Crown

A dental crown is a type of dental restoration that completely caps or encircles a tooth or dental implant. Crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth. They are also used to improve the strength, shape, size, and appearance of a tooth. Dental crowns can be made from various materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal alloys, composite resin, or a combination of materials. Each material has its benefits and is chosen based on the specific needs and location of the crown in the mouth.

Purposes of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns serve several important purposes:

  • Restoring a Tooth: When a tooth is significantly damaged or decayed, a crown can restore its original shape, size, and function.
  • Protecting a Tooth: A crown can protect a weak tooth from breaking or hold together parts of a cracked tooth.
  • Cosmetic Enhancement: Crowns can be used to cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth, improving one’s smile.
  • Covering Dental Implants: A crown can be placed on top of a dental implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function.
  • Anchoring a Dental Bridge: Crowns can serve as anchors on either side of a gap left by a missing tooth, with a bridge attached to cover the space.

Types of Dental Crowns

  • Porcelain or Ceramic: These crowns provide the best natural color match to your own teeth and are well-suited for people with metal allergies. However, they can be somewhat less durable than metal crowns.
  • Gold Alloys: These crowns are a mix of gold, copper, and other metals. Gold alloy crowns are highly durable, do not fracture, and do not wear away the tooth itself.
  • Base Metal Alloys: Made of non-noble metals, these crowns are highly resistant to corrosion and extremely strong, ensuring minimal wear to adjacent teeth.
  • Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM): Offering both strength (due to their metal structure) and aesthetics (due to the porcelain coat that matches the tooth color), these crowns are more durable than porcelain but have aesthetic limitations.
  • Composite Resin: While less expensive than other crown types, composite resin crowns are more prone to wear and discoloration over time.

The Procedure for Getting a Dental Crown

  • First Visit – Exam and Preparation: The dentist examines and prepares the tooth, which may involve X-rays and taking impressions. The tooth receiving the crown is reshaped along the top and sides to make space for the crown. A temporary crown may be placed to protect the tooth while the permanent crown is being made.
  • Second Visit – Placement of the Crown: The temporary crown is removed, and the dentist checks the fit and color of the permanent crown. If everything is acceptable, a local anesthetic is used to numb the tooth, and the new crown is permanently cemented in place.

Care for Dental Crowns

While dental crowns do not require special care beyond good oral hygiene practices, it’s important to avoid behaviors that could damage the crown, such as chewing ice, biting fingernails, or opening packaging with your teeth. With proper care, a dental crown can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years or longer, depending on the material and wear and tear.

In summary, dental crowns are a versatile solution for restoring and protecting damaged teeth, as well as improving the overall appearance of one's smile. The choice of material and specific procedure details will vary based on individual needs, preferences, and the dentist's recommendation.

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