Dental crowns, otherwise known as dental caps or tooth caps, are coverings that protect damaged teeth. There are a number of different types of dental crowns, which are distinguished based on their material, such as porcelain, ceramic, metal, composite resin, zirconia, and other synthetic materials. Choosing the type of dental crown that is best for you depends on a number of factors, such as the placement of your crown within the mouth, adverse reactions to certain materials, and insurance coverage.
Reasons you may need a dental crown vary. Typically, patients need crowns to cover weak or damaged teeth, a dental implant, a tooth that has been shaven down, or a discolored tooth. After consulting with your dentist to determine whether a crown is right for you, your dentist will then take an impression of the tooth your crown will cover to get an accurate measurement. Then, your dentist will numb the area where the crown will be installed and cemented.
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Dental crowns may be needed to restore an already damaged tooth or may be used in a different restorative dental procedure altogether. Common reasons patients need dental crowns include: to protect a tooth that is weak or damaged, to cover a tooth that has been shaven down to support other dental structures (such as dental bridges, dental implants, root canals, and dental fillings), or to enhance the appearance of your smile.
Dental crowns can last a long time, typically for an average of 15 years. That, of course, is dependent on the level of care and attention you give your teeth after a dental crown procedure has been performed. Neglecting to brush or floss as needed can negatively affect your dental crowns’ lifespan.
Dental crowns do not typically hurtafter they have been installed. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic before beginning a dental crown procedure. If you do feel a lot of pain or discomfort after you’ve had a dental crown installed, be sure to consult your dentist right away, as your crown could be too small or in need of additional dental care.
Dental inlays and onlays are used instead of fillings to cover parts of your tooth that have decayed. When a filling isn’t sufficient in filling the decayed portions of your tooth, your dentist may resort to using an inlay or onlay. Inlays fill smaller parts of the tooth, whereas the onlay covers your tooth’s cusp.
Some dental crowns made of metals can interfere with MRIs. If you’ve had a crown installed that is made of porcelain, ceramic, or composite resin, you should be fine to have an MRI. Talk to your doctor to further understand how dental crowns interfere with MRIs.
Dental crown procedures are quick, simple, and relatively painless. It’s not uncommon for patients to have a dental crown successfully installed in just a few visits to their dentist. Dental crowns should not cause you an inordinate amount of pain or discomfort, however, you should call your dentist immediately if you believe your dental crown is bothering you.