You can think of a porcelain crown as a life jacket of sorts for a tooth. Sometimes a tooth can have such a degree of decay or a major problem such as a deep crack that it is in danger of needing to be extracted. A porcelain crown placed by Dr. Sadeghi can save the tooth, returning strength and function, eliminating the need for extraction.
What is a Dental crown?
A crown earned its name because it is a prosthesis that fits over the entire visible portion of a tooth, all the way down to the gum line. The crown is made to the same size and shape as the tooth it covers (before the tooth was prepared), and, more importantly, it protects and returns strength to the tooth.
Crowns can be cosmetic in nature, covering a tooth that is misshapen, for instance. And they are used as anchors for bridges, crowning the two teeth on either side of the gap filled by the bridge.
You may have heard crowns referred to as “caps.” This term is a leftover from the days when most crowns were made from gold and were very visible, as if your tooth had donned a gold “cap.” Today, Dr. Sadeghi uses porcelain for her crowns; she believes they provide the best combination of strength and cosmetic appearance.
Why does Dr. Sadeghi prefer porcelain?
Dental porcelain has many characteristics that make it perfect for crowns. It is very strong and durable — porcelain crowns can last for decades. It resists staining. And porcelain is similar to natural tooth enamel in the way its translucence absorbs some light and reflects some light.
What problems can a porcelain crown address?
The purpose of a crown is to restore the strength in a tooth. Crowns are excellent options for the following problems:
- Chipped teeth
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Teeth with large fillings
- Severely worn teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Severely discolored teeth
- Teeth that have had a root canal
- Teeth with fractured fillings
- The teeth on both sides of a bridge
Would I be a good candidate for a porcelain crown?
The question of needing a crown or not can be functional or aesthetic. If you have a tooth that has cosmetic problems such as dark stains, then a crown is a great way to mask that staining. However, a porcelain veneer could also do the job in this case.
But if your tooth has extensive decay or other damage and is in danger of needing to be extracted, then a crown is the perfect way to save the tooth.
If you have signs of gum disease, you’ll have to address that first before you can have a crown placed.
How is a Dental crown placed?
Placing a crown requires two appointments with Dr. Sadeghi. During the first appointment, she first removes any decay and damaged tooth material. Next, the healthy exterior of the tooth is shaved down on all sides and on the top to create room for the crown to overlay the tooth. We then take impressions and photographs of your teeth to create a blueprint for the lab to use to manufacture your crown. The lab needs to make the crown to the shape of your original tooth (before it was shaved down), minus defects such as chips and the like. Plus, the crown needs to match the color of your adjacent teeth. Fabricating your crown takes around two weeks, so Dr. Sadeghi places a temporary crown on the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is finished.
When your crown is finished, you return for your second appointment. Dr. Sadeghi cleans your teeth and then checks your new porcelain crown for fit and for the match to the adjacent teeth. If need be, she’ll adjust the underlying tooth or shave a bit from the crown. Once both of you are satisfied, the crown is cemented permanently onto your tooth and you’re finished. No recovery is needed, as you can eat normal foods as soon as you leave our office.
Do porcelain crowns require special care?
Caring for your new crown isn’t any different than normal, attentive home hygiene. Twice-daily brushing and flossing are all that’s needed, along with twice-yearly exams and professional cleanings with the team at Midtown Dental.
How long do porcelain crowns last?
Porcelain crowns can last for decades, but their endurance is often tied directly to your home hygiene. After all, the porcelain won’t decay, but the tooth underneath it still can. Other bad habits such as chewing ice and biting your fingernails can shorten the lifespan of a crown.
What other Dental options are available instead of a crown?
If your tooth is seriously decayed or otherwise damaged, you really only have one option other than crowning the tooth. You could have the tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant or a bridge.
If your crown would serve a cosmetic need only, in many instances you could opt for a porcelain veneer instead.
What is the difference between porcelain crowns and veneers?
While both crowns and veneers create beautiful teeth, their purposes are usually divergent. Crowns usually are placed on damaged teeth, teeth that are seriously misshapen, or as anchors for bridges. Crowns return strength to a tooth and allow the patient to keep the tooth, rather than having to have it extracted.
Veneers, on the other hand, are strictly cosmetic. Placing veneers across the fronts of your visible teeth can create a perfect, dazzling smile, but they can’t do anything about problems with the health of those teeth. Doing the same with a series of crowns isn’t practical for most patients.