Dental crowns are a common solution to teeth that have suffered damage. When you visit your dentist with a damaged tooth they will present you with a variety of solutions and one of them may be the installation of crowns. Before you jump into any procedure it is important to make sure that it is right for you. To that end, this article will tackle some of the most commonly asked questions about dental crowns.
What are dental crowns?
When a tooth gets damaged one way to fix it is to cap it so that the damage doesn’t go any further. Dental crowns are used to do just this. They cover the tooth all the way from the top to the jaw line to protect it and also to make sure that its appearance is restored. Dental crowns are commonly used after a root canal for these two reasons. Crowns can be made of different materials – they can be made of ceramic, porcelain, stainless steel, or an alloy of metals, including gold and silver. Some people like to have their crowns visible, and they may choose to install those made of gold, but if you want yours to be discreet they can be made of a material that looks just like your teeth.
Who needs dental crowns?
Other than strengthening a tooth after a root canal dental crowns can be used to correct a variety of problems. They can be used strengthen teeth that have been weakened by a crack, they can be used to cover teeth that are chipped, they can be used to attach an implant or they can be used when the filling isn’t large enough for the cavity. Dental crowns are sometimes used for purely cosmetic purposes.
Does it hurt to have a crown installed?
In order for your dentist to place a crown over your teeth he will have to do some modifications. In the case of a cavity he will have to clean it and fill it and then put in a temporary crown which will be replaced a week or two with the real thing. If your tooth is cracked or chipped it will have to be filed down in order to make space for the crown. Filing down the tooth can be painful, so the dentist will administer a local anesthetic. However, in most cases the procedure is mostly painless – you may experience some pain for a minute or two when nerves are exposed but after that all that will be left is a dull ache. Your dentist will give you painkillers that you can use whenever you feel an ache.
What kind of care do crowns require?
Once your crown is installed you will have to take care of it the same way you take care of your teeth. You will need to brush twice a day and floss after meals and you will also need to flush with fluoride mouthwash. You should see your dentist at least twice a year for an inspection of your crown as well as the tooth beneath it. If the tooth has developed decay the dentist will need to drill through the crown to deal with the cavity but it will be filled up afterwards and will be back to normal.
How long will a crown take?
The length of the procedure will depend on what the dentist needs to do before the crown is fitted. If, for example, you need a root canal that procedure alone will take about 2 or 3 hours after which you will be measured for a crown. While it is made you will be fitted with a temporary one which will be removed one or two weeks later when your permanent one is ready.
How long do crowns last?
If you take proper care of your teeth you can expect your crowns to last between 10 and 15 years and even longer depending on what material they are made of. If, however, you are prone to cavities your dentist may need to replace your crowns more frequently. Some people are able to have their crowns for 30 years or more. It varies from person to person, but the bottom line is that crowns last a long time.
Can a crown dislodge?
Indeed it can if it isn’t placed properly, if you keep biting on hard items or if you experience a sharp impact. If you want your crowns to stay in place you should be careful not to bite on things like pens and hard candy. If you play sport make sure that you have a mouth guard to protect not just your crown but the rest of your teeth as well.