If you're considering dental crowns as a potential treatment option, it can be hard to know what you're facing both in the procedure and costs. Crowns are a substantial treatment option that many patients turn to when they have a problem tooth. You're not alone in considering this treatment option, and we'll help you understand the process before you decide at your next office visit. Let's break down the basics on dental crowns.
What Is A Crown?
Dental crowns are essentially covers that fit over an entire tooth and lay even with the gum line. Crowns are made of very durable synthetic materials, and sometimes they are even made of gold. They are made in a lab to look like your teeth, and once installed they look and function like a normal tooth. Since space is limited and the crown needs to be fit over your existing tooth, portions of the healthy tooth need to be removed or shaved off so the crown will fit in place. Crowns require several visits to the dentist to complete the procedure.
Why They Are Used
Crowns are a popular treatment for significantly decayed teeth or teeth that are suffering from substantial cavities. At a certain point, cavities cannot heal if they become too significant. A crown is a way to cover the tooth so it can remain functional even though it has been damaged. It will protect the healthy portions of the tooth and ensure that the decay does not continue. For many patients, a crown is a less extreme option than removing the tooth completely, although in some cases there are other procedures that can be tried before a crown is needed. Sometimes a root canal is performed before the crown is placed to clean up the root area. The crown seals the area after the root canal is performed.
Fitting and installing a dental crown is a complex process that requires several visits to the dentist's office. This may be in addition to a checkup and cleaning that identifies the problem tooth. During the first visit for a crown, the dentist needs to create a mold of your tooth to be sent off to be made in a lab. They will numb the area around the tooth to begin the process. Next the decayed material in the tooth will be drilled out, and at this stage a root canal may be performed if needed. Sometimes healthy portions of the tooth may need to be removed for the crown to fit properly. Once the tooth is prepped for the crown, a mold is taken and a temporary crown is placed over the tooth to protect it in the meantime.
In the next visit, the dentist receives the completed permanent crown and swaps it out with the temporary crown. They will cement the crown in place and ensure it fits correctly. At this time, any adjustments that the crown may need are performed as well. The dentist will ensure your bite works correctly and the crown is doing its job. Your dentist may request a follow up appointment down the line to ensure the crown is fitted correctly.
Benefits And Risks
Crowns are an extremely popular treatment for decaying teeth, but there are some risks involved that you'll need to weigh against the benefits. As far as the strengths of the treatment goes, a crown can look and function like a normal tooth, and it can improve the appearance of otherwise unsightly teeth. The materials in a crown are durable and won't decay or stain. This procedure is a way to keep your existing teeth versus removing them, and many patients will prefer that.
As far as drawbacks go, once your tooth is prepped for a crown, it is a permanent choice. Since some portion of the tooth has to be removed, there really is no going back after you decide on the procedure. In addition, the cement used to hold the crown in can weaken over time, and the crown can fall out. It can be cemented back in, but if you lose the crown another will have to be fashioned in the lab. The procedure around removing decay (and a potential root canal) can cause an infection, and some patients may need to take antibiotics to fight an infection.
Final Thoughts On Dental Crowns
Crowns are a popular treatment option, but it can be hard to know if they are right for you. Do you still have questions about dental crowns or are you curious what a potential procedure might cost? Come in for an evaluation and cleaning at Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry and we'll answer all your remaining questions so you're not in the dark. Contact Us today!