If your tooth has sustained damage, it needs to be repaired as soon as possible. Whether the damage is due to an accident or due to decay, having a damaged tooth can lead to serious oral health issues if it is not properly repaired. One excellent repair option for teeth that have suffered moderate to severe damage is the placement of a dental crown.
What Is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a tooth repair prosthetic that covers the natural tooth and replaces the natural crown of the tooth. Dental crowns are also used as abutments to hold dental bridges in place.
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Why a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns are helpful for the repair of teeth that have sustained damage that is too severe for less intensive repair options. Dental crowns help to protect against the spread and formation of bacteria, while also providing a high level of support. This allows the patient to continue to bite and chew much like they did with their natural tooth.
Beyond the practical benefits, dental crowns also provide cosmetic benefits. Those suffering from damaged teeth are often more apprehensive when it comes to smiling. A dental crown can help to restore a patient’s confidence, and boost their self-esteem.
Dental crowns are often used to repair teeth that have been severely cracked, chipped or broken. They may also be used to restore the appearance of a tooth that has major discoloration.
The Dental Crown Process
As with other procedures, the placement of a dental crown begins with a trip to the dentist for a consultation. From there, the dentist will take a look at the damaged area, and will decide on the best repair option. If your dentist has decided that a dental crown is the best option, they will begin the placement process.
Your dentist will start by numbing the area to reduce or eliminate any pain during the initial stage of the placement process. They will remove any decay and they will clean the tooth to ensure its health. From there, your dentist will begin reshaping the tooth to allow for the placement of the prosthetic crown. Once the tooth is reshaped, they will make a mold that will be sent away to have the prosthetic fabricated. Your dentist will discuss different replacement material options with you. If you decide on ceramic or porcelain, they will help you to choose a shade for the prosthetic that closely resembles your natural tooth, and the surrounding teeth.
Once the prosthetic is ready, it will be sent to your dentist. Your dentist will then meet with you for the final placement. Before fully placing the crown, they will check the fit of the prosthetic, and they will ensure the shade is correct (if porcelain or ceramic is chosen). Once they are satisfied with the dental crown, they will place it with a dental cement.
The Types of Materials Used to Create Dental Crowns
Once your dentist has decided that the placement of a dental crown is the best repair option for your damaged tooth, they may give you different options for the type of material that you would like to have your dental crown fabricated with. Below are the different options that your dentist may present you with:
Porcelain-Fused to Metal
Porcelain-fused to metal is a very popular option for both practical and aesthetic reasons. Porcelain-fused to metal crowns are extremely durable, and can last a long time. Porcelain also mimics a natural tooth very closely—allowing a patient to smile without the worry of people noticing that they’ve had a tooth replaced.
For a more affordable option that also is aesthetically pleasing, some patients choose to go with ceramic. While ceramic is less expensive, it’s important to note that it also is less durable than other options.
Gold and Metal Alloys
For the most durable and long lasting option, you may want to consider metal or gold alloy prosthetics. While these are very noticeable, they are also very strong. Because of their appearance, many patients prefer these materials for the replacement of teeth in the back of the mouth, and not their front teeth.
Speak with your dentist about the best material options for your particular needs, preferences and budget.
How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?
The cost of a dental crown will depend on a few different factors, including the materials used, and whether or not any additional services need to be provided. Often a dental crown will cost between $1,000 and $3,000 per tooth.
Dental insurance will sometimes cover restorative procedures, so it’s a good idea to check with your dental insurance provider to see how much of the procedure (if any) is covered. This will help you with any financial decisions (such as the materials used for the procedure).
Dental Bonding and Dental Veneers
While your dentist may decide that a dental crown is the best option for your needs, if the damage is less severe, they may decide to go with another repair option. Two popular options include dental bonding and dental veneers.
Dental bonding is a good choice for very minor damage that is more cosmetic than practical. A dental veneer is a great choice for patients that have moderate damage to the crown of their tooth, but not enough damage that a full crown replacement is necessary.
Which Repair Option Is Right for Me?
If you have a damaged or decayed tooth, set an appointment with your dentist. From there, they can take a look at the tooth and decide which repair option is best for your needs. If they decide on placing a dental crown, they will walk you through the process in greater detail, and you can ask any questions that you may have.
Set an appointment with your dentist today if you have damage to your tooth before it becomes worse, or before the tooth becomes infected. The sooner you have the tooth repaired, the more of the natural tooth your dentist can save.