Can Porcelain Crowns Save Your Teeth?
Who Needs a Crown?
A patient who has a damaged tooth may need a crown. A crown acts as a cap that goes over the existing tooth to protect it and restore the placement, shape and function of the tooth.
A crown can be a suitable solution for teeth that are decaying and need protection. Crowns can also be used to restore broken teeth. In addition, crowns can be utilized for cosmetic purposes, helping to cover discolored or misshapen teeth.
Types of Crowns Available
There are many different types of crowns available, most of which are separated by the material used to make the crown. A patient can choose from ceramic, porcelain, gold alloys and metal alloys. It is important to note that porcelain crowns can be composed entirely of porcelain or porcelain fused with metal.
There are many reasons patients choose porcelain crowns. Several of the advantages of porcelain crowns include:
- Durability: Porcelain crowns are very durable and can last up to 15 years if properly cared for.
- Appearance: This type of crown is the most natural looking and can be customized to match the color of your existing teeth. Unlike metal crowns, porcelain looks like real teeth and shouldn’t be noticeable to others.
- Stain Resistant: Porcelain crowns are stain resistant, which helps your crown look healthy and natural.
- Compatibility: Porcelain doesn’t typically cause reactions with the body, unlike metal which may cause an allergic response.
While porcelain crowns are a fantastic solution for many, there are some potential drawbacks.
- Change in coloration: While porcelain crowns can be matched to your existing teeth, if the color of your natural teeth changes, your crown will not - making it stand out.
- Fragility: All porcelain crowns are susceptible to cracking and chipping. The metal fused porcelain crown is typically a stronger option. This may not be a consideration depending on the placement of the crown. For instance, a crown in the back of the mouth where the bulk of the pressure from chewing is experienced will need to be stronger than a front tooth crown.
- Tooth Reduction: Your dentist may need to remove more of the existing tooth structure in order for the crown to fit properly.
- Metal Line: If you select a porcelain fused to metal crown, there may be a metal line that is visible where the crown meets your natural tooth.
Process to Prep a Tooth for a Crown
The application of a crown will usually take two dentists visits. During your first visit, your dentist will perform a thorough inspection of your tooth that is receiving the crown. They may need to file your tooth down to make room for the crown or depending on the state of the tooth, may need to build it up so that it can support the crown.
Next, your dentist will take an impression of your tooth. Then, a temporary crown is made in the dentist’s office. This is applied to your tooth with temporary cement so that it can easily be removed when your permanent crown is ready. Your dental team will send all information and molds to a specialized lab where your custom, permanent crown is created. It generally takes a couple of weeks for a permanent crown to be completed.
Applying the Crown
Once your permanent crown is ready you will go back to your dentist. At your second visit, your dentist will gently remove the temporary crown. Your permanent crown will then be put in place and adjusted as needed until the shape, fit and bite are perfect. Once everything is exactly as it should be, the permanent crown is cemented in place, this time with a permanent glue or cement.
Another benefit of porcelain crowns is that the aftercare is very straightforward. Good hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily and regular visits with your dentist should be sufficient. You should stay away from biting down on hard objects immediately after your procedure. Hot and cold items may also be irritating until you become more comfortable with your new crown.
While cost varies depending on your dentist, geographic location and any other repairs that may be needed, on average a porcelain crown costs $500 - $1500 a tooth.
If you are considering a crown, call our office. We would love the opportunity to perform an exam and talk to you about your options. Our team of dedicated professionals are here to answer all of your questions and make sure you are comfortable every step of the way.
What is the time frame for this procedure?
This procedure can be completed in as few as two visits.