What is a dental crown? Why are dental crowns used? Why not do a filling instead of a dental crown? What is the difference between dental crowns and veneers? What is the process like for getting a dental crown?
These are all questions that may have come up at a recent dental visit when discussing treatment with your dentist, and hopefully these questions were answered. At Swanson Dental Group in Reno, NV, our goal is to make sure you have all the answers to your questions about dental care, so you can make fully informed decisions that are right for you.
Dental crowns, sometimes referred to as tooth “caps”, are tooth-shaped restorations that cover the entire damaged tooth on all sides, as opposed to fillings which only involve portions of a tooth. Dental crowns are not used to replace natural teeth, rather they simply cover them to protect from further damage. New crowns are designed to look, feel and function just like natural teeth. Over the years, dental crowns have been made with a variety of materials. Types of crowns can include gold, stainless steel, as well as porcelain crowns. However, as improvements have been made in technology and aesthetics, today’s crowns are commonly made from glass-like ceramics and zirconia. These materials provide excellent strength, aesthetics, durability and long-term success of the restoration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are Dental Crowns used?
Dental crowns are used for a myriad of reasons but are generally used when there is tooth damage, such as a broken tooth or cracked tooth, resulting from tooth decay or discoloration. Crowns are also commonly used after most root canal procedures to offer added strength and protection against future tooth fracture. Dental crowns and veneers can be utilized simply to make aesthetic improvements to your smile. For example, if teeth are rotated, misshaped, asymmetric, damaged, discolored, etc., dental crowns and veneers could be an option to help achieve a more attractive smile. Crowns are also used to restore dental implants, which is an option for replacing a missing tooth on either front teeth or back teeth.
What’s the difference between Dental Crowns and Veneers?
Dental veneers are similar to dental crowns, except that they only cover the outward facing surfaces of the teeth, rather than the whole tooth, like crowns do. For this reason, veneers are used more often for cosmetic changes, rather than for repairing tooth damage and decay.
I’ve heard Dental Crowns are expensive, so can’t I just do a filling instead?
Usually, the extent of tooth damage is what determines whether a crown or a filling can be placed. If a tooth is severely damaged, has extensive decay or has a large filling that is failing, a dental crown may be the best long-term option for the tooth. In our Reno, NV office, Dr. Swanson always tries to recommend the most conservative option when it comes to dental treatment. Still, sometimes a dental crown is best suited for extending a tooth’s lifespan while maintaining the tooth structure. The cost of a dental crown or veneer will vary from office to office and depends on whether your dental insurance plan provides any financial help. The cost will also depend on which materials are used. If you are in need of a crown, all of these factors will be discussed upfront, so you are well aware of what to expect. Dental crowns can be a wonderful long-term restoration, commonly lasting over 10 years when they are made with high-quality materials and well-maintained with proper care.
What is involved with a dental crown procedure?
Many times, a dental crown procedure will take 2 visits. The first visit is longer and is when the bulk of the dental work is performed. Decay is removed from the tooth, the tooth is carefully prepared for a crown to fit over the top, and a detailed impression is taken. At the end of this first visit, you will be given a temporary crown to wear while your permanent crown is being made in a lab. The second visit is when your temporary crown is removed, and your custom permanent crown is checked and delivered. Local anesthetic is usually necessary for the first visit, but not always for the second.
As technology in dentistry has improved over the years, dental crowns can be made in an in-office dental lab, which often allows for the crown to be completed in a single visit.
Many people falsely assume that root canal therapy is necessary prior to a crown, but this is not the case. However, the reverse is often true: dental crowns are usually necessary following root canal therapy.
What is the difference between a Dental Crown and a Dental Bridge?
A crown is a restoration for a single tooth, whereas a bridge is a restoration for multiple teeth when a tooth is missing. A bridge is like multiple crowns fused together and is one option for replacing a missing tooth.
How do I clean my Dental Crown(s)?
As with anything, crowns require good oral hygiene as well as professional cleanings and maintenance to last as long as possible. When a permanent crown is placed, we recommend brushing twice a day, flossing daily and routinely coming in for professional cleanings as directed by your dental team. This will allow us to check on how your dental work is holding up and offer suggestions if needed.
If you have additional questions about dental crowns, veneers or any other dental treatments, give our Reno dental office a call, or stop into Swanson Dental Group, your local Reno dentist. We are here to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that you can confidently display for years to come.