If you’ve ever chipped or cracked a tooth, you know firsthand how frustrating and painful it can be. You may have wondered if a dental crown is the solution you need, but what exactly are they? And when are dental crowns necessary? Dental crowns are a common procedure to help save a damaged tooth from further decay or breakage. In this blog, we’ll look closer at dental crowns, when necessary, and what you can expect during the process. So, please sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of dental crowns!
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a dental restoration used to cover and protect a damaged or decayed tooth. It is a cap placed over the tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. Dental crowns are commonly made from materials such as porcelain, ceramic, metal, or a combination of these materials, according to the American Dental Association.
When Are Dental Crowns Necessary?
Dental crowns are necessary when a tooth is damaged, decayed, or weakened. Here are some common scenarios where dental crowns may be required:
- Extensive decay: If a tooth has decayed to the point where it cannot be repaired with a filling, a dental crown may be necessary to restore its function and strength.
- Cracked or chipped teeth: Teeth that are cracked or chipped may require dental crowns to prevent further damage and to restore the tooth’s appearance and function.
- Root canal treatment: As mentioned earlier, a root canal treatment may weaken the tooth and make it more susceptible to fracture. A dental crown is often necessary after a root canal to protect the tooth and restore its function.
- Large fillings: If a tooth has a large filling, it may be weakened and more prone to fracture. A dental crown can be placed over the tooth to strengthen it and prevent further damage.
- Cosmetic purposes: Dental crowns can also be used for cosmetic purposes, such as covering discolored or misshapen teeth to improve their appearance.
- Dental implant: Dental crowns are also commonly used with dental implants. After the implant has been placed in the jawbone, a dental crown is attached to the implant to replace the missing tooth.
A dental crown typically involves two or more appointments with a dentist or prosthodontist. During the first appointment, the tooth is prepared by removing any damaged or decayed portions and shaping it to accommodate the crown. An impression is then taken of the tooth, which creates a custom-made crown that fits precisely over the prepared tooth. In the meantime, a temporary crown may be placed over the tooth to protect it.
Once the permanent crown is ready, it is bonded or cemented onto the prepared tooth, providing a strong, durable, and natural-looking restoration that can last for many years with proper care and maintenance, as explained by WebMD.
Types of Dental Crowns and Cost
Several types of dental crowns are available, each with advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most common types of dental crowns and how much dental crown costs:
- Porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns: PFM crowns are made of a metal base covered with a porcelain layer to match the color of surrounding teeth. PFM crowns are durable and long-lasting but may cause wear on opposing teeth. PFM crowns range from $800 to $1,500 per tooth.
- Ceramic or porcelain crowns: Ceramic or porcelain crowns are made entirely of porcelain or ceramic material, providing a natural-looking appearance. These crowns are biocompatible and can be used for patients with metal allergies. Ceramic or porcelain crowns range from $800 to $3,000 per tooth.
- Gold crowns: Gold crowns are made of a gold alloy and are highly durable, long-lasting, and less abrasive to opposing teeth. Gold crowns range from $800 to $1,500 per tooth.
- Zirconia crowns: Zirconia crowns are made of a strong, durable, and biocompatible material that closely resembles natural teeth. These crowns are highly resistant to wear and chipping, making them a good option for back teeth. Zirconia crowns range from $1,000 to $2,500 per tooth.
- Stainless steel crowns: Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns used for children’s primary or temporary adult teeth. They are solid and durable but are not designed to be permanent. The cost of stainless steel crowns ranges from $100 to $300 per tooth.
The cost of dental crowns varies depending on several factors, including the type of crown used, the location of the tooth in the mouth, and the geographic location of the dental practice. It’s essential to consult with a dentist to determine the best type of crown for your specific dental needs and budget.
When Do You Need a Crown vs Filling?
The decision to get a crown versus a filling depends on the extent of damage or decay to the tooth. Here are some general guidelines to help determine when a crown may be necessary over a filling:
- Size of the cavity: If the cavity is small, a filling may be sufficient to restore the tooth’s structure and function. However, if the cavity is large, a crown may be necessary to provide additional support and prevent further damage to the tooth.
- The extent of the damage: If the tooth is cracked, broken, or severely damaged, a crown may be necessary to restore the tooth’s structure and function. A filling may not be enough to provide the required support and protection.
- Location of the cavity: If the cavity is located in a part of the tooth that undergoes a lot of pressure from chewing or biting, such as the molars, a crown may be necessary to provide additional support and prevent further damage to the tooth.
- Root canal treatment: If a tooth has undergone root canal treatment, it may be weakened and more prone to fracture. A crown is often necessary after a root canal to protect the tooth and restore its function.
In summary, fillings are generally used to treat minor to moderate cavities, while dental crowns are used for larger cavities or more extensive damage to the tooth. It’s essential to consult with a dentist to determine the best treatment option for your specific dental needs.
Difference Between a Root Canal and Tooth Crown Procedure
The main difference between a root canal and a dental tooth crown procedure is that a root canal is a treatment done to address an infection or inflammation in a tooth’s pulp. In contrast, a dental crown is a restoration that covers and protects a damaged or decayed tooth.
During a root canal procedure, the infected or inflamed pulp of a tooth is removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. This is done to prevent the spread of infection and to save the tooth from extraction. Once the root canal treatment is complete, the tooth may be filled with a special material, and in some cases, a dental crown may be placed over the tooth to protect it from further damage and restore its strength and function.
On the other hand, a dental crown is a type of dental restoration used to cover and protect a tooth damaged or weakened due to decay, trauma, or other factors. The crown is placed over the tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance and to prevent further damage or decay.
While a root canal and dental crown procedure can be done separately, they are often done together when a tooth is severely damaged or infected. The root canal is done to address the infection or inflammation, and the dental crown is placed over the tooth to protect it from further damage and restore its function.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are a popular dental treatment to restore damaged, decayed, or weakened teeth. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of dental tooth crowns:
- Protection: Dental crowns protect the tooth from further damage, decay, or wear.
- Aesthetics: Crowns can improve the appearance of a tooth, especially if it is discolored or misshapen.
- Durability: Crowns are made of strong materials that can last many years with proper care.
- Functionality: Crowns restore a tooth’s function by restoring its shape and size and improving its ability to chew and bite.
- Versatility: Crowns can address many dental issues, including extensive decay, cracks, chips, and missing teeth.
- Cost: Dental crowns can be expensive, especially if multiple crowns are needed.
- Preparation: Preparing the tooth for a crown can be uncomfortable and require multiple appointments.
- Sensitivity: Some patients may experience sensitivity or discomfort after getting a crown, especially if the tooth’s nerves are exposed during preparation.
- Potential for damage: Crowns can become damaged or dislodged, especially if the patient engages in activities that put pressure on the crown, such as grinding their teeth.
- Affect on adjacent teeth: Crowns may require the removal of a significant amount of tooth structure, which can affect adjacent teeth and lead to an increased risk of decay or sensitivity.
What are the Alternatives to Crown for Cracked Tooth?
The alternative to a dental crown for a cracked tooth will depend on the severity and location of the crack. Here are some alternatives to a crown for a cracked tooth:
- Dental bonding: Dental bonding may be an option if the crack is small and doesn’t extend deep into the tooth. This involves applying a tooth-colored resin to the tooth and shaping it to match the natural tooth. This is a less invasive and less expensive option compared to a crown.
- Inlays or Onlays: Inlays or onlays are custom-made restorations that can be used to repair a cracked tooth. These restorations are made in a dental lab and are usually made of porcelain, composite resin, or gold. Inlays are used to fill a cavity in the center of the tooth, while onlays are used to cover one or more cusps of the tooth.
- Root canal treatment: Root canal treatment may be necessary if the crack has extended into the tooth’s pulp. This involves removing the damaged pulp and filling the space with a dental filling material. After root canal treatment, a dental crown may be necessary to restore the tooth’s structure and function.
- Extraction: In some cases, if the crack is severe and the tooth cannot be saved, extraction may be necessary. After extraction, options such as a dental implant or bridge can be considered to replace the missing tooth.
It’s important to consult a dentist to determine the best treatment option for a cracked tooth. The dentist will consider the damage’s extent, the crack’s location, and the patient’s overall dental health to determine the most appropriate treatment.
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