At The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC, we see a lot of people who were too busy in their youth to practice proper oral hygiene, especially after enjoying a drink or two. We’re not saying you have to watch a Tar Heels game without a drink. However, you must brush your teeth afterward or else you may end up needing a dental crown or two! Fortunately, today’s innovations in crowns make them easier to put in and more useful than ever.
6 Signs You Need Dental Crowns
1. You’ve Had a Large Filling
Perhaps the most telling sign that you need dental crowns is you’ve had a large filling. During a filling, the decayed portion of your tooth is removed, the area is cleaned out, and the cavity is filled in with a filling material. If the filling is too large, the surrounding area of the tooth is weak and highly susceptible to fracture. In such cases, dental crowns protect from cracks and stress.
2. You Have a Broken Cusp
Your cusp is the pointy part of your tooth that is used to tear food. Sometimes, cusps break off. If your cusp breaks off, you will need to protect the tooth with a dental crown.
3. Your Teeth Have Suffered Excessive Wear
Like anything in life, your teeth are at risk of damage due to excessive wear. We often see teeth worn down due to acid reflux disease, bulimia, grinding, or a highly acidic diet. Any of these things can cause the bite to collapse. In the case of worn-down teeth, dental crowns restore the affected teeth to their normal size.
4. You Have a Poor Aesthetic
A surprising majority of our clients don’t come in for dental crowns for orthodontic purposes. Rather, they are more concerned about cosmetics. Crowns can be used to change the shape of the tooth to enhance the overall aesthetic of the mouth. We also have people request crowns to change the color of the tooth or eliminate the appearance of gaps between two teeth.
5. You’ve Had a Root Canal
During a root canal, your tooth is hollowed out. Therefore, the area surrounding the remaining tooth is weakened significantly. As a result, nearly every tooth that has a root canal requires a dental crown.
6. You Have Dental Implants
When you get dental implants, you will have spaces from missing teeth at first. Implant crowns are used to fill in the gaps caused by those missing teeth. During your initial consultation, we will review your options for the interim that occurs before you get your dental implants.
What Is a Crown Made From?
There are several materials your crown may be made from. Some clients have crowns made from composite resin, porcelain, or ceramics. Other clients have crowns made from porcelain fused to metal or metal alloys.
The best material for you depends on several factors, including why the crown is necessary, the location and function of the tooth, your personal preference, the position of the gum tissue, the color or shade of the tooth, and the amount of tooth exposed when you smile.
How Is a Crown Placed?
It usually takes two appointments for your treatment to be completed. When the crown is placed over the natural tooth, there are several necessary steps. First, your dentist will prepare the exterior of the tooth so the crown will fit correctly. Any decay will be removed. If you lack the tooth structure to adequately support the crown, Dr. Moray will build up the core of the tooth.
To provide the crown with an exact model, an impression is made. This may be done via a digital scan of the tooth or a mold. Some clients choose to get a temporary crown while they are waiting the couple of weeks for the permanent crown to be ready. During this time, avoid sticky foods and chewing gum. Once the permanent crown is ready, it will be placed in your mouth and adjustments will be made. Then, it is cemented into place.
How Can I Care for My Crowns?
Just like natural teeth, crowns can break. Moreover, the teeth underneath the crowns may get cavities. To prevent crown damage and tooth cavities, brush your teeth at least twice daily.
Rinse your mouth out with an antiseptic mouth wash every time you brush your teeth. Floss every night before you go to bed. Look for oral care products with the ADA (American Dental Association’s) Seal of Acceptance.
To best protect your tooth and crown, use best practices. Particularly if you have a tooth-colored crown, abstain from chewing hard objects like pencils, ice, or popcorn. You should also schedule dental appointments at least every six months for exams and professional teeth cleanings.
Play it Safe
If you play a sport, whether it is a contact sport or not, make sure you play with all the required personal safety equipment. For instance, you should always wear an orthodontic mouthguard. Do not use a mouth guard purchased at your local sporting goods store. Orthodontic mouthguards are softer, so the risk of injuring the mouth is mitigated. Moreover, they are designed to fit your mouth specifically.
8 FAQ About a Dental Crown
1. How Long Does a Dental Crown Last?
The longevity of a dental crown depends on several factors, including the extent of the wear and tear a crown is exposed to, personal mouth-related habits, and your oral hygiene practices. On average, a dental crown will last between five and 15 years.
2. How Can I Extend the Longevity of a Dental Crown?
Besides following good oral hygiene practices, not chewing on hard objects, and protecting your mouth from accidents, there are a few other things you can do to extend the longevity of your dental crown. First, don’t bite your fingernails or use your teeth to open packaging. Moreover, you should stop grinding or clenching your teeth.
3. How Can I Prevent Needing Another Dental Crown?
Primarily, there are eight things you can do or avoid to prevent needing another dental crown. These are:
- Avoid excessively hard foods
- Stop clenching your teeth
- Protect your teeth from sports injuries
- Promptly address any dental issues
- Treat your bruxism
- Avoid other causes of tooth wear
- Brush diligently
- Floss every night
4. Is an All-Metal Crown Right for Me?
An all-metal dental crown is most often made of gold or silver-colored “white” dental alloy. This type of crown is ideal for people who play sports regularly and are likely to damage weaker crowns. They are renowned for their exceptional strength and phenomenal durability.
5. Is an All-Ceramic Crown Right for Me?
An all-ceramic crown is usually composed of “engineered” dental ceramic. However, it may also be made out of actual porcelain. Some all-ceramic materials are known for their strength. However, most of them are known for their superior aesthetic. Unfortunately, with all-ceramic crowns, you have to choose between durability and aesthetics.
6. Is a Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal Crown Right for Me?
A porcelain-fused-to-metal crown attempts to be the best of both worlds regarding aesthetics and strength. This hybrid construction features fused porcelain for the aesthetic which covers a metal substructure that encases the tooth. There are several fabrication methods that affect the durability of these crowns.
7. Are Pre-Formed Crowns Right for Me?
Pre-formed crowns, also known as stainless steel crowns or shell crowns, are not ideal for permanent tooth restoration. This type of crown is ideal for children or people looking for a quick, affordable, temporary crown.
8. Can I Just Get a Filling Instead of a Crown?
When you come in for your initial consultation, we will help you determine if you need a crown or you just need a filling. The most significant deciding factor is whether you need tooth strengthening. Dental fillings do not significantly increase the strength of a tooth.
Learn More About Dental Crowns Today
The only way to determine for sure if you need a dental crown is to ask Larry J. Moray DDS, MS, PA. To schedule your initial consultation, call us today at The Happy Tooth in Chapel Hill, NC. We are more than happy to answer any questions you have about the treatment and advise you on how to achieve and maintain the perfect smile.