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What is a dental crown
A dental crown is a fixed prosthesis used to rebuild a damaged tooth.
Dental crowns are used in cosmetic dentistry to cover damaged, broken, devitalized (dead) or severely decayed teeth that no longer have enough healthy tooth structure to receive a filling or support a veneer.
Crowns are used to strengthen and beautify damaged teeth, especially when many of the surfaces of worn teeth need to be rebuilt. The dental crown can be seen as a kind of cap that is cemented over a natural tooth.
Artificial dental crowns are part of the family of fixed partial dentures.
Related topic : Dental prostheses treatments in Addis Ababa
Indications for crowns
Dental crowns are recommended when it is still possible to save teeth that have lost considerable tooth structure, but where the pulp is not affected and a root canal treatment can be performed. Therefore, in order to consider the installation of a crown, the tooth root must still be in good condition.
Sometimes it is necessary to make and install a dental post, which will be anchored in the root of the tooth before the crown is installed. A dental post is also required when the natural tooth structure is destroyed after a root canal. In these circumstances, the post is essential for the proper support of the crown.
Reasons to get a dental crown
Artificial crowns can also correct many dental imperfections. They are used in several cases including :
- Restoration of decayed or broken teeth, as they have the ability to completely cover a damaged tooth, unlike veneers which only cover the front part of the teeth;
- Replacement of teeth that have changed color over time, “dead” teeth (devitalized after a root canal), teeth with large fillings or deformed teeth;
- Improving the appearance of the smile by standardizing the color, shape and function of the teeth.
Reasons NOT to get a dental crown
- If cavities or gum disease are present, they should be treated before considering crowns.
- If you have bruxism (grinding or clenching of the teeth), crowns may be damaged or even break, depending on the material used.
- Also in case of teeth grinding, crowns can damage healthy teeth if they are made of a material that is stronger than the enamel.
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Advantages of crowns
- Crowns provide an aesthetic visual appearance and function similar to a natural tooth.
- In addition, dental crowns are as strong and solid as natural teeth, allowing you to enjoy chewing almost normally.
- Furthermore, crowns are permanently bonded (cemented) in the mouth, unlike removable dentures, such as full or partial dentures. Since dental crowns are fixed in the mouth, they are more stable than other types of dentures.
Types of crowns
There are 4 types of dental crowns frequently used, according to their distinct manufacturing method:
- Metal crown
- Ceramic crown
- Metal-ceramic crown
- Composite resin crown
There is also another type of crown that is called yellow gold crown. The yellow gold crown, although it is more rarely used nowadays, is mostly installed on back teeth that are not visible when an individual smiles, because it is not aesthetic. However, it is very resistant and does not wear out the teeth on the opposite arch.
The metal crown is a type of crown made of metal. Metal crowns can be made of an alloy of nickel and chromium or, if the patient is allergic to it, of titanium or yellow gold(yellow gold crowns).
This type of crown is the least aesthetic and is preferred for the back teeth such as molars since these teeth are the least visible.
However, metallic crowns are very resistant and have a very long life span. Depending on the type of metal used, they can also be more affordable than other types of crowns.
Ceramic crown (also known as porcelain crown)
Also known as ceramo-ceramic crown or porcelain crown, the ceramic crown is an artificial dental crown that has a resistant ceramic base structure which is covered with a ceramic layer whose color allows an aesthetic and indistinguishable harmony with the natural dentition.
The most notable advantage of porcelain is its aesthetic appeal. It is translucent in appearance and very similar to natural tooth enamel. Ceramic is also biocompatible, which means that it is in harmony with the body and fits in perfectly.
On the other hand, a porcelain crown is not recommended in cases of severe malocclusion and abnormal contact between the upper and lower teeth, as well as for certain types of teeth. Ceramic is less resistant than metals and can break or be damaged by repeated contact with other teeth.
The metal-ceramic crown is composed of two distinct materials: a metal alloy, which is used to make the base the crown (also called the “skeleton”) and the ceramic, which gives shape to the main prosthesis.
The ceramic-metal crown is very resistant, which means that it has a very long life span. It is preferred when the conditions of the operation are more complicated and when other crown manufacturing processes are not suitable. It is also generally more affordable than ceramic crowns.
The disadvantage of this type of crown, however, is that as the gum wears down and resorbs over time, the metal base shows through, which is considered unaesthetic.
Composite resin crown
Also called a “temporary dental crown”, the composite resin crown protects the tooth during the design stages of the final crown. Over time, the color of the resin tends to fade.
The crown also becomes porous and permeable to germs, so it should not be kept on for too long. It is also the most fragile and less durable crown type.
Price of a dental crown
The price of a dental crown varies according to the patient’s needs, which is why your dentist atour dental clinic in Addis Ababa will give you a clear and transparent estimate after examination.
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How is a dental crown placed?
The installation of a metal-ceramic crown typically requires several steps, performed in at least two appointments, as described below :
- During the first appointment, the dentist must prepare the tooth that will receive the crown. To do this, a grinding is performed to allow the final crown to fit over the natural tooth. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia.
- During the initial appointment, impressions of the tooth to be replaced are taken to create a working model that will be used by the prosthodontist or dentist who will make the crown in the laboratory. At this stage, a temporary crown, often made of resin composite, can be installed while the final crown is being made.
- Together, the dentist and the prosthodontist make sure that the final crown will perfectly match the remaining natural teeth by checking several parameters, including the color and shape of the adjacent teeth. The dental technician or dentist first fabricates a metal structure that is then covered with several thin layers of ceramic.
- When the crown is ready, often within a few days, another appointment is necessary to cement the final crown onto the tooth.
The installation of a ceramic crown requires the same steps as a metal-ceramic crown, except that no metal base is fabricated.
With technology, it is now possible to make porcelain crowns in one appointment. They are designed by computer and fabricated directly in the dental office.
The installation of a metal crown requires the same steps as a metal-ceramic crown, except that no ceramic layer is applied on the crown.
Drawbacks of dental crowns
The aesthetic results of installing a crown depend mainly on the material used to make it. Some materials are more expensive than others.
Crowns are an irreversible treatment because the damaged tooth must be grinded down to create space for the crown
How to take care of your dental crown
Just like other teeth, the dental crown requires basic hygiene care: twice-daily brushing, flossing and routine visits to the dentist.
While the temporary crown is being worn, it is best not to bite into foods that are too hard, such as an underripe apple, or too sticky, such as caramel. This is because the temporary crown is not as strong as the custom-made crown that will be placed on your teeth.
If you ever want to have your teeth whitened, the presence of a dental crown is not a problem, since it will not prevent you from having this treatment.
The dental crown can be changed every ten years. However, if you notice an abnormality in your dentures, it is important that you inform your dentist.