A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that fits over the entire top of a damaged tooth, strengthening the tooth just above the gum line. It is a fixed oral prosthetic device which is cemented to an existing tooth or to a dental implant. Once a dental crown is placed, the crown can restore a tooth’s natural looking appearance.
Why Do You Need a Dental Crown?
Your dentist in Fort Collins may recommend a Dental Crown for your good oral care. There are many reasons for having a dental crown done, some of these are:
- Cover a tooth that has had a root canal (endodontically treated tooth)
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore an already fractured tooth
- Seal a sensitive tooth
- Restore a tooth that has been severely worn down
- Cover a large filling when there is not enough tooth structure
- Attach (affix) a dental bridge in place
- Cover misshaped or severely discolored teeth
- Cover a dental implant
- Cosmetic Enhancement
What Are Dental Crowns Made Of?
There are many different types of dental crowns and we can help you with them all. Permanent Crowns may be made of 100% resin, ceramic material, precious and/or semi-precious metals, porcelain, and porcelain fused to metal (PFM). The most popular dental crowns are the Ceramic and the PFM crowns. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color of your teeth, giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.
- The 100% porcelain and ceramic dental crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth, thereby providing you the best natural color match. Typical matches using this this type of crown material offers a better match than any other type crown. The “all ceramic” crowns are a good choice for front teeth, while the porcelain crowns are a better choice for front or back teeth. Both the porcelain and ceramic crowns are metal free; they may be more suitable for dental patients with metal allergies, or sensitivity issues.
- The “all resin” dental crown wears down (erodes) more quickly than other dental crowns. These dental crowns are also more prone to fractures than the PFM (Porcelain Fused to Metal). Depending on you and your dental habits, using the all-ceramic dental crown may not be your first choice. Check with your knowledgeable Fort Collins Dentist as to which type of dental crown is best suited for you.
- The color of Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM) dental crown can be matched to nearly perfectly to your adjacent teeth. The PFM crowns can be an excellent choice for both front and/or back teeth. The PFM crowns are stronger, more durable, than any of the all-porcelain or all-ceramic dental crowns.
- The type of metals that are used in constructing your crown may consist of what is called “noble” or “base” metals. These noble metals are gold and/or palladium and the base metals may include nickel or chromium. With the 100% metal crowns, less tooth structure needs to be removed to provide a strong structure for the crown to attach to. The metal crowns rarely chip or break. The Metal crowns are a great choice for your molar teeth, regardless of upper or lower proximity.
- Temporary crowns can be made in your Fort Collins Dentist office, while the permanent crowns are being cast and milled in our dental laboratory. The temporary dental crowns are made of an acrylic material and are intended o last long enough for your comfort, while the permanent crown is prepared. Usually this is about two (2) weeks from the date of the initial cast being taken.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
Crowns are highly durable and oftentimes they last a lifetime, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. The average dental crown lasts between five (5) and 15 years.
The “wear and tear” of your crown will depend on what the crown is exposed to. To prolong the life of your crown (and your teeth in general), the dentists at Front Range Dental Center, Fort Collins recommend that you avoid chewing ice, hard foods, biting your nails, and opening packages with your teeth. We all seem to have these types of habits, but when you are using your crown for this type of “work” you are working against what the crown is intended for. It is also very important to practice good oral hygiene, by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist in Fort Collins for regular checkups at no less than six (6) month intervals, and having your teeth professionally cleaned with the our dental hygienists. They can provide you with great information on how well your teeth are being maintained, and also alert you and your Dentist to areas of concern.
What Does Getting a Dental Crown Really Involve?
When a patient needs a Dental Crown, it will be done over two (2) separate dental appointments.
At your first initial visit to the dentist in Fort Collins:
- An X-Ray will be taken to check the roots of the tooth that needs the crown and the surrounding tissue and bone. The tooth will be examined by the dentist after the X-Ray is taken. If the dentist finds that the tooth has excessive decay, infection (abscess), or if the tooth’s pulp is damaged, a root canal may be needed before getting a crown.
- Your dentist in Fort Collins will anesthetize (numb) the gum tissue around the tooth. Depending on the depth of work and severity, a second shot of anesthetic may be required. While the tooth is totally “numb”, your Fort Collins dentist will remove any decay and shape the tooth along the chewing surface to make room for the crown.
- If a large part of the tooth is missing due to damage, decay or disease, a large filling (build up) may be required to support the dental crown.
- After your dentist reshapes the tooth, an impression of the tooth will be taken of all the teeth above, below and beside the tooth getting the crown. We do this to make sure we have a perfect impression of your mouth so the dental lab will be able to make the crown exactly as your tooth would be, thereby ensuring a perfect fit and it won’t affect your bite.
- The dental impressions are sent to a dental laboratory in Northern Colorado, where all of our crowns are made. Your crown is usually returned to your dentist’s office within 10 -12 business days. If your crown is made of porcelain, your dentist will also select the shade that most closely matches the color of the neighboring teeth.
- Your Fort Collins dentist will create a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while waiting for your crown to be returned from the dental lab. Caution should be maintained during this period as the temporary crown is subject to movement and eating sticky foods or candy can dislodge the crown and cause you problems.
Second visit: Seating of the Permanent Dental Crown
At your second visit, your dentist will remove your temporary crown and check the fit and color of the permanent crown. If everything is acceptable, a local anesthetic may be given to numb the affected tooth, and the new crown is permanently cemented in place. After the crown is securely cemented and seated, the technician will make sure that excess glue, debris, or materials are removed from your mouth, and the new tooth is “flossed” to make sure it will be easy for you to floss without problems, later on.
How Should I Care For My Temporary Dental Crown?
Because temporary dental crowns are just that – a temporary fix until a permanent crown is ready – most dentists would recommend:
- Avoid sticky, chewy foods (for example, chewing gum, caramel), which have the potential of grabbing, loosening, dislodging, and/or pulling the crown off.
- Minimize use of the side of your mouth where the temporary crown was inserted. Shift the bulk of your chewing to the other side of your mouth.
- Avoid chewing hard foods (such as raw vegetables), which could dislodge or break the crown.
- Slide flossing material out-rather than lifting out-when cleaning your teeth. Lifting the floss out, as you normally would, might pull off the temporary crown. The “fit” of this temporary crown is only intended to last a few days. Remember to be gentle with it during that time.
How Much Do Dental Crowns Cost?
After your initial visit to Front Range Dental Center, our Fort Collins dentists will recommend the perfect crown for your mouth, and for the condition you have. Our dental professionals will be happy to go over pricing with you, once we know which crown would be the best for you.
Will Dental Insurance Cover a Dental Crown?
Typically, Dental Insurance will not cover the full cost of the dental crown. Front Range Dental Center will be happy to do a complementary benefits check to see what amount your insurance company would cover. Remember that your mouth needs good biting surfaces and your teeth need to be cared for. We at Front Range Dental Center are dedicated to your satisfaction and good oral care.