Dental crowns are a popular restorative treatment option for restoring damaged teeth. If you have a tooth that is cracked, broken or has extensive decay, a crown may be recommended by your dentist as they help improve the appearance of discoloured or misshapen teeth.
In this guide, we’ll discuss reasons for a dental crown, what to expect from a tooth crown procedure, types of crown teeth and how to care for your dental crowns so they last their lifespan.
What are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are “caps” that fit over a tooth for protection to restore a tooth’s shape and strength or cosmetic enhancement to improve its overall appearance. They cover the entire tooth, providing support while restoring its shape and function. Crowns are custom-made to fit your tooth precisely and are typically made from materials like porcelain, ceramic or metal.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are several types of tooth crowns available, each with its own pros and cons. Some of the most common dental crowns include:
- Porcelain crowns — These are the most common type of dental crown made from a ceramic material that resembles natural teeth’s appearance. They are durable, long-lasting and stain-resistant. That said, there is a chance the porcelain may chip or break or cause more wear to opposing teeth than metal crowns.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) — PFM crowns combine the durability of metal crowns with the natural appearance of porcelain by fusing porcelain to a metal base, providing a strong crown tooth that matches your natural tooth colour.
- Metal alloy crowns — Metal crowns are typically made from gold or other metal alloys. They are one of the longest-lasting dental crowns on the market as they are less likely to crack or chip than different types of crowns. However, they are more noticeable than porcelain or ceramic crowns, making these tooth crowns better suited to molars.
- Same-day ceramic crowns — Ceramic crowns are made from a material similar to porcelain. They are less durable than metal or porcelain crowns but more aesthetically pleasing. Ceramic crowns are particularly common for front teeth or other visible mouth areas since they provide the best natural colour match. Our same-day CEREC technology means you can get your crown in a single appointment rather than waiting weeks.
- Composite resin crowns — Resin crowns are the least expensive type of crown. They are made from plastic material and used as a temporary solution. Resin crowns are not as durable as other types of tooth crowns and may require more frequent replacement since they wear down over time and are more susceptible to fractures.
- Zirconia crowns — A zirconia crown is made from a strong, durable material called zirconium oxide. Its resistance to fracture and wear makes it a common choice to replace a damaged or decayed tooth. Its natural-looking appearance makes it easily customisable to match the colour and shape of surrounding teeth.
Benefits of Dental Crowns
Dental crowns offer several benefits, including:
- Restoring the shape and function of a damaged tooth
- Strengthening a weak tooth
- Protecting a tooth from further damage
- Improving the appearance of a tooth
- Covering a dental implant
- Holding a dental bridge in place
What to Expect During the Crown Dental Procedure
The crown’s dental procedure typically takes two visits to complete and will involve the following steps:
- Approval for a crown tooth — During the first visit, our dentist will take the time to assess the condition of your teeth with a digital x-ray and determine if a tooth crown is a suitable treatment for your needs. A dental crown is preferred if your tooth’s sustained damage is too far gone for a simple dental filling.
- Time to plan — Using your x-ray, our dentist will create a personalised treatment plan to suit your needs and help you decide which crown tooth to use, depending on your budget and preferences.
- Tooth preparation — Our dentist will remove any decay or damage and reshape it to fit the crown. How much of your tooth is trimmed down will greatly depend on the type of crown tooth material you select.
- Taking a mouth impression — Our dentist will take an impression of your tooth and send it to a dental lab to create your custom crown. While you wait for your permanent crown, your dentist will place a temporary crown over your prepared tooth to protect the tooth from damage or infection and help you eat and speak normally.
- Permanent crown placement — Once your permanent crown is ready, you will return to the dentist’s office for your follow-up visit. Your dentist will remove the temporary crown and cement the permanent crown into place. They will make any necessary adjustments to ensure the crown fits comfortably and securely.
Common Issues Faced by Dental Crowns
If you want your dental crown to last its lifespan, you must keep an eye out for any dental crown issues and treat them as soon as they arise. These include:
- Chipping or cracking
Dental crowns can chip or crack if exposed to too much pressure or force, such as biting on hard objects. To minimise damage to your crown tooth, maintain oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily and avoiding chewing hard or sticky foods where possible. Kick bad habits to the curb, like chewing on the end of your pen or opening bottle caps with your teeth. And if you grind your teeth at night, invest in a mouthguard to protect your teeth from damage.
- Dislodgement or loosening
Crowns can become dislodged or loosened over time, particularly if not fitted properly or the tooth underneath decays. If you notice a damaged or loose crown, you should immediately visit our dentist. Gaps in your crown will cause food to build up beneath it, leading to a possible bacterial infection.
Some people may experience sensitivity or discomfort after getting a crown, particularly if the tooth nerve was affected during preparation, and can also commence weeks after your procedure. Use mouthwash and toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and your symptoms should subside after a few weeks. If these symptoms persist and you’re experiencing more significant discomfort or nerve damage, visit our dentist, who can treat more extensive trauma or inflammation.
While dental crowns are designed to protect teeth from decay, decay can still develop if not properly maintained or if your oral hygiene is lacking. At No Gaps Dental, we treat signs of dental decay by removing it, cleaning the affected area and filling it with composite material before fitting you with a new tooth crown.
- Allergic reactions
In rare cases, patients may experience an allergic reaction to the materials used in the crown, which can cause swelling, itching or other symptoms. Ensure you discuss any allergies or medical conditions related to your crown’s material upfront with your dentist.
Expected Lifespan of Dental Crowns
If you practise good oral hygiene habits like regular brushing and flossing and regular dental visits or use a mouthguard to treat grinding, your dental crown may last five to 15 years, if not longer. The lifespan of your dental crown will also be affected by the type of tooth crown material you choose.
Book a Consultation with No Gaps Dental Today
Dental crowns are a versatile and effective treatment option for restoring damaged or missing teeth. Whether you need to strengthen a weak tooth, protect a damaged tooth or improve the appearance of your smile, a dental crown may be the right solution for you.
Book a consultation with No Gaps Dental today to learn more about our cosmetic dentistry and find out what treatment option best suits your needs. We’re based in 15 different clinics Sydney-wide for your convenience and offer payment instalments so you can pay at your own pace.