Dental CrownsSan Francisco, CA
Dental crowns serve as caps for damaged teeth. They cover the entire visible part of teeth and protect them from irritants in the mouth like oral bacteria, acids and saliva. Dental crowns can be used for restorative and cosmetic purposes. These restorations are quite popular with cosmetic dentists because they can be used to hide a variety of aesthetic issues, like:
How cosmetic dentists improve smiles with dental crowns
Dental crowns are designed to look just like real teeth, so it is easy to cover up an unsightly looking tooth with a crown that is color-matched to the rest of the patient's natural teeth. The crown serves cosmetic and restorative purposes because it also restores the tooth's function.
Dental crowns are designed to be long-lasting solutions that can last over 25 years with good oral hygiene, and they can be made from a variety of materials. The location of the tooth being treated typically decides the type of materials used to create the crown, since each material has unique properties. The different types of dental crowns include:
- Composite resin
- Metal alloys
- A combination of different materials, e.g., porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns
Other factors that the dentist might consider when deciding on the materials to create your crown include:
- How much of the tooth will be displayed when smiling
- The role of the tooth that needs a crown
- The location of the gum tissue next to the tooth
- The color of the teeth next to the one being treated
- How large the remainder of the damaged tooth is
- Your personal preference
The role of temporary crowns
Wearing temporary crowns for a couple of weeks is a normal part of the process of getting dental crowns. Teeth need to be prepared for crowns by removing portions of the enamel. This is done so the crown fits tightly on the tooth. Once portions of enamel have been removed, the tooth will need to be protected with an oral restoration.
That is where temporary crowns come in. The crown protects the patient's tooth while their customized crown is being made in a dental lab.
What to expect when getting dental crowns
Getting dental crowns typically involves multiple trips to the dentist. During the first visit, the dentist will prepare the patient's tooth for a crown by removing portions of enamel. An impression or digital image of the prepared tooth is taken, and that information is sent to a lab that makes oral restorations. The patient and dentist get to add their input during the design process. The shape, color and size of the crown are customized for each patient. It usually takes about two weeks for the customized crown to be ready.
The dentist will cement a temporary crown on the patient's tooth before sending them off. The patient will be called back in after about two weeks for their customized crown. The dentist takes off the temporary crown and attaches the customized one. The dentist will carefully inspect the prosthetic and make sure that it fits as expected.
Life after getting a dental crown
There is no recovery period after getting a dental crown. Patients might experience a certain amount of tooth sensitivity for the first few days after getting their prosthetic, but that goes away within a week. Dentists recommend avoiding hard and chewy foods for the first couple of days after getting a crown in order to prevent the restoration from becoming dislodged before the cement sets.
After that, the patient is free to enjoy all their favorite foods. They should, however, try to avoid very hard foods, like hard candies, since these can end up damaging a crown. Crowns are designed to be strong and durable, but these prosthetics are not as strong as real teeth, which are the strongest part of the human body.
Caring for dental crowns
Crowns can last for up to 25 years when properly maintained. Simple things you can do to increase the longevity of your dental crown include:
Practice good dental hygiene habits: Dental crowns are made from materials that are not susceptible to tooth decay, but the area where they meet the tooth is. People with crowns should aim to brush at least twice a day. They should also flush once each day. Doing so helps prevent plaque and oral bacteria from accumulating on teeth surfaces.
Avoid hard items: Chewing on things like ice, fingernails or hard foods can end up damaging your crown.
Use appropriate protection for teeth: People with bruxism should wear a nightguard to avoid damaging their teeth when they grind them. Those who participate in sports can protect their teeth by wearing a mouthguard.
Patients are advised to visit a dentist immediately if their crown ends up being damaged. Failing to do so can leave teeth susceptible to tooth decay or gum disease. It can also create a need for a replacement crown, even when the original issue could have been repaired.
Generally speaking, dental crowns can last anywhere from five to 25 years. The materials that the crown is made out of affects its longevity because some elements are sturdier than others. For example, a crown made out of metals will be more durable than one made out of porcelain.
When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, materials like porcelain, composite resins and ceramics are quite popular due to how easy it is to color match these with real teeth. Porcelain tends to have the most realistic look because it is just as translucent as real teeth. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns tend to have a natural look as well, but these are sturdier than porcelain-only crowns.
A crown might be what you need
Dental crowns are versatile oral restorations that can be used to fix a wide variety of aesthetic issues that might be ruining your smile. Call or visit our San Francisco clinic to learn more about these prosthetics. We are here to help!
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