Dental Crowns -with Dr. Vanam

Dental Crowns -with Dr. Vanam

Our June 2014 Dentistry in Focus Article is written by Dr. Kaushik Vanam and focuses on dental crowns.

This article aims to provide an overview of dental crowns including when are they used and the steps involved in crown treatment.

Why do we need Crowns/when do we need Crowns

Dental crowns are used for a variety of reasons, the main reasons are listed below:

  • If a large portion of tooth is broken or fractured,
  • If there is a large filling which has a potential risk of fracture,
  • If a tooth is decayed beyond an extent where it can be restored by a regular filling,
  • Occasionally if the tooth is sensitive to hot and/or cold,
  • If an existing filling starts to crack,
  • If a previously root treated (has had root canal treatment in the past) and the tooth now shows signs of discolouration or fracture,
  • If a tooth has received trauma (e.g. through an accident, fall or sports injury),
  • If the teeth are worn out due to age related wear/tear or due to tooth grinding (also know as bruxism).

In each of these scenarios an artificial crown is the best option to save a tooth and to maintain normal function and appearance.

Dental Crown Types and Materials

There are different types of materials to make dental crowns and the dentist will provide different options depending on the reason for the crown and the crown’s location. The most common types of crowns are made from either a Porcelain Ceramic, a Gold Alloy or a Porcelain Ceramic with a Metal Alloy on the inner surface. Porcelain ceramic crowns are generally preferred because of their strength as well as aesthetic appearance. The ceramic is able to be made to match existing teeth colours without the dark edges of some Porcelain/Metal Alloy Crowns.

Dental Crown Treatment Procedure

A crown generally requires two visits to the dentist.

  1. In the first visit the tooth to be “crowned” is shaped using a drill, this makes the tooth peg shaped (for the crown to fit on easier) and 1-2mm smaller. Occasionally at this stage a tooth may also require some small posts and/or a small internal filling to provide strength for the crown. This is followed by taking an impression/mould using a gel like material which is then sent to the lab for manufacture/fabrication of the crown. This is taken on both the top and bottom jaw to provide the correct shape for the crown and make sure the crown will be the same height as the surrounding teeth. A temporary crown (made from filling material) is placed to assist in chewing and eating while the crown is being made.
  2. In the second visit (usually around three weeks later but can be earlier if required) the permanent crown is placed on the shaped tooth. This involves firstly removing the temporary crown and then using a dental cement to bond the crown to the tooth. Occasionally minor adjustments are required to achieve the correct comfort when biting. Patients are encouraged to let the dentist know if there is any discomfort or the bite feels unusual once the crown is placed.

Crowns are some of the strongest forms of dental restorative treatment and can last years provided they are well cared for and proper oral hygiene is maintained. The tooth under the crown also need monitoring with regular dental exams/”check-ups”.

As with all dental and medical treatments there are slight risks with crown treatments, including:

  • Fracture or breakage of tooth during preparation,
  • Infection of the pulp or nerve of the tooth or the gums surrounding the tooth,
  • Discomfort or unusual feeling within the mouth,
  • Sometimes a crown can even debond (come away from) the tooth, although this usually only occurs with older crowns or with people who grind/clench their teeth.

The dentists at Robertson Dental Innovations perform careful evaluation of all teeth before the crown treatment begins and take all steps to ensure our patients achieve the best possible outcomes and minimise the potential risks. As with all treatment options provided by Robertson Dental Innovations we encourage our patients to contact us with any concerns or questions.

About the Author

Dr. Kaushik Vanam works at both of Robertson Dental Innovations’ practices (Dental Innovations on Sternberg & Dental Innovations on Condon) and is available for appointments Tuesday to Saturdays.

Posted in Dentistry In Focus Articles, Dr Vanam