Dental crowns are one of the most effective ways to treat chipped or broken teeth. They are caps that cover the damaged tooth to protect the root and restore the function of the tooth. They are also used to top a dental implant for a completely artificial tooth. Crowns are made of lithium disilicate ceramic, gold, zirconia, stainless steel, porcelain, composite resin and metal alloys. Ceramic crowns produce the best cosmetic results. They don’t conduct heat or cold so they don’t produce temperature sensitivity and they are suitable for people who are sensitive to metals.
Crowns are used to cover:
- A tooth that has been damaged by decay and cannot be repaired with a normal filling
- A tooth root after a root canal
- A tooth that has been ground down by other teeth
- A tooth that is broken or cracked
- An artificial titanium root of a dental implant
- A tooth that is permanently discolored
Why Choose a Ceramic Crown?
Ceramic crowns are the best option for aesthetics. Their color is matched to your other teeth and, once they are in place, they are indistinguishable from a natural tooth. Porcelain crowns may also match the tooth color at first, but they are bonded to metal and when the gum recedes, the metal starts to show. Ceramic crowns are all one color and don’t show even when the gums recede. There are two types of ceramic crowns, zirconia and E-Max.
A zirconia crown is made from the crystal zirconia. It is virtually indestructible hence, long-lasting. It also resembles natural teeth and is hard to detect once it is fitted. Zirconia is a biocompatible substance and used for other medical applications such as artificial joints. It is safe and causes no allergic reactions. The three main advantages of a zirconia crown are:
- Aesthetics – it looks like a natural, luminous tooth
- Strength – it lasts longer than many other types of crowns
- Minimal preparation of the damaged tooth – means you keep more of your natural tooth
An E-Max crown also provides aesthetic appeal and is long-lasting. The crown is made from a single block of high-quality lithium disilicate ceramic. It is very durable and does not require a metal alloy base. It is considered one of the best ceramic crowns and has less chance of chipping than a zirconia crown.
Our specialist considers several factors to ensure a good fit and appearance before recommending a specific type of crown. Some of the factors that are considered are:
- The position of the gum tissue
- The location of the tooth and its function
- The preference of the patient
- Whether or not the tooth shows when the patient smiles
- The color of the tooth
How Is a Crown Placed?
Before a crown is fixed in your mouth, we will evaluate your jawbone integrity and the health of your gums. The tissue must be healthy to receive a crown. If it is not, we will recommend treatment to strengthen your gums and bone before we start the crown process.
For most crowns, it takes two visits to the dentist. In some cases, more than two visits are needed. After it is decided a crown is the best solution for a damaged tooth, the tooth needs to be prepared to receive the crown. First, the tooth is numbed. The outer portion of the tooth is removed by drilling along with any decay and the tooth is shaped. The shape needed will depend on the type of crown and your individual needs. This allows the crown to slip over the tooth. Even though the crown is cemented into place, it is the fit that gives it strength and stability to last for years. If the root has had a root canal, the core of the root may be built up first. If the crown is for a dental implant, the whole tooth and root will be removed.
When the tooth is ready, our trained dental technicians will take an impression or mold of all the teeth. The tooth is dried and the gums are pushed back so the impression is an accurate depiction of the tooth. It can also be done by digitally scanning in some cases, but, according to the requirements, a physical mold may be needed.
Before the crown is made, a color match must be taken. You will be shown a sample of many colors from white to ivory. You can hold them up to your mouth and choose the exact one that matches your other teeth for the color of the crown.
It usually takes about two weeks for a laboratory to make a crown. During that time, you will be given a temporary crown to protect the remaining tooth and root. When the new crown is ready, our specialist will fit it on the tooth and make sure it is comfortable when it touches your other teeth. It may be put on and taken off several times to make adjustments for the best fit. Once you are happy with the feel and look of the crown, it will be cemented into place. You will be asked to bite down on the crown until the cement is dry. Finally, we will remove any excess cement around the bottom of the tooth.
If you need a temporary crown, you should avoid eating sticky foods or chewing gum. If the temporary crown is dislodged, it can affect the appearance of the tooth, which may change the fit of the crown. The tooth may be extra sensitive to hot and cold since it is not yet protected by the permanent crown.
All of the above inconveniences may be avoided in some cases because a ceramic crown can be made in the office during the same visit the tooth is prepared. If this is the case, the whole process can be done in one day and a temporary crown is not needed. It not only saves you time because you don’t need an additional appointment, but it also saves you from needing anesthesia twice.
Oral Hygiene for a Crown
Crowns need the same kind of care you give your natural teeth. You need to brush twice a day and floss once a day. After eating, make sure there is no food debris stuck near the crown root. Chewing hard foods like ice, pencils and other hard things could result in a crack or break of the crown just as it would for a natural tooth. This is especially true for ceramic crowns that may not be as strong as metal crowns. You will also need to have regular professional teeth cleanings and checkups.
The Benefits of Ceramic Crowns
Ceramic crowns that are made entirely of ceramic material are called all-ceramic crowns. They provide many benefits when compared to other types of crowns.
Ceramic is the first choice for treating damaged front teeth. If aesthetics is your first concern, we recommend you choose an all-ceramic crown. All-ceramic accurately matches your natural teeth. With no other material combined with the ceramic, the tooth looks more translucent and more natural.
Unlike porcelain that is brittle and needs to be attached to a metal back, 100 percent of the ceramic crown is ceramic. This is why it has the luster of a natural tooth. The light can penetrate the ceramic and reflect outwards just like it does with a natural tooth.
All-ceramic crowns are healthier for gum tissue than metal crowns. This is because they are more biocompatible than other materials. Your gum tissue will grow around the edge of the crown adding to its natural appearance and stability. The biocompatible feature also means the ceramic material is very smooth. This not only makes it more comfortable, but it also reduces wear. There is also no risk of an allergic reaction as there may be with a metal alloy. Even gold can cause a reaction in some people. The ceramic material is not a good conductor of heat. This is why it doesn’t cause sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold foods.
Ceramic crowns can be contoured to fit perfectly with your bite. When our specialist contours the crown, there is less or no chance of wear and tear on the crown. This means it will look the same and function properly for years.
What Is a Dental Implant Crown?
As already mentioned, a crown fits over your existing tooth. If the root is decayed, you may have a root canal treatment before the crown is attached. With a dental implant, the whole tooth is missing or removed and the root is artificial. This artificial root is usually a screw or plate made of titanium that is implanted into the jawbone. Titanium is very biocompatible and the bone is prompted to grow around the artificial root holding it in place just like it does a natural root.
On top of the artificial root is an abutment. This takes the place of ground down tooth and is where the crown is attached. After a few weeks, the artificial root is secure. Then the crown is fixed and adjusted for your comfort. When it is cemented in place, the gum will naturally grow around the tooth. Any kind of crown can be used, but the most commonly chosen is the ceramic crown.
Each type of crown has its pros and cons, but ceramic crowns offer the most benefits, including:
- It provides the required protection of the damaged tooth and root
- It provides protection after a root canal
- It is suitable for dental implants instead of a bridge or dentures
- It provides support to a tooth that is too decayed to be filled
- It provides support to a cracked or chipped tooth
- It is made to minute specifications so it will fit perfectly
- It is made of biocompatible material so the gums will grow back around the tooth
- It is luminescent and beautiful
- It has a very high success rate
- It can improve your appearance when it covers a discolored tooth
- It can change the shape of a tooth
- It is very durable and will last for years
If you have damaged or decayed teeth or are embarrassed to smile because your teeth are unattractive, a ceramic crown may be your best option. It will function like a natural tooth, match your existing teeth and be healthy for your gum tissue. If your teeth are unsightly, ceramic crowns are the number-one choice to improve your appearance. Our team at Brevard Smiles would be more than happy to get you started with this treatment. We are conveniently located in Indian Harbour Beach and Rockledge, FL. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!