Dental crowns are becoming more and more commonplace. A recent study in the USA found that almost 50 per cent of New Yorkers have one or more dental crowns by the age of 55. Dental Crowns are just as prevalent in Auckland and across the rest of New Zealand. A tooth crown can be thought of as a cap, usually made of porcelain, that fits snugly over an existing tooth to improve its shape, strength, and colour.
Why Wear A Dental Crown?
Dental crowns can be used for a variety of reasons, but most commonly, it is to prolong the life of a tooth that has become weakened. A tooth might be weakened through decay, or because the tooth has become chipped or cracked.
A crown can also have cosmetic benefits. It makes a real difference to your smile if you have one or more teeth that are discoloured, crooked or unevenly gapped.
What Are The Benefits of Dental Crowns?
A weakened tooth presents all sorts of problems to which a dental crown is an ideal solution. When you know a tooth is damaged, it has an impact on every area of your life. It affects the foods you choose to eat, making you nervous every time you chew and can cause self-consciousness when you speak or smile in public.
Having a crown fitted gives the tooth a new lease of life. If it has been repaired multiple times in the past or is damaged, you might think it is only a matter of time before the tooth will have to go completely. The dental crown holds the weakened structure together in a durable new outer coating that looks great and works effectively.
Different Types Of Dental Crowns
By far the most common sort of crown fitted in our Auckland dental practice is the ceramic crown, which looks just like a natural tooth. Ceramic crowns are the perfect choice for highly visible front teeth and can bring cosmetic, as well as practical benefits. Sometimes a dental crown is a more appropriate treatment than orthodontics for crooked or gapped teeth.
Gold crowns are an alternative option. Although these do not blend in naturally like porcelain ceramic crowns, they do have the advantage of being extremely strong. This implies that gold dental crowns might be a better choice for less visible teeth like the molars at the back of the mouth.
Common Questions in Relation To Dental Crowns
Any dental work can feel a little uncomfortable while it is taking place, but your dentist will numb the area to ensure there is no actual pain. Following the procedure, some patients experience some sensitivity and tenderness around the tooth and gum. Patients normally find that this discomfort is usually mild and disappears after a few days at most.
Crowns will be colour matched to your existing teeth, but cannot be whitened with a course of teeth whitening. This is why many patients take the opportunity to have their teeth whitened and made to look their best before the crown is colour matched. The resulting bright, white smile can be quite spectacular.
Crowns should certainly last for around 10 years, but it is not uncommon for them to still be fine after 20 years or more. What is crucial is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. If you brush, floss and visit the hygienist when you should, it reduces the chances of tooth decay undermining the crown.
Having a crown fitted is neither as complicated nor as time-consuming as you might think. First, the dentist will remove all decay and areas of weakness from the tooth. Then a record will be taken of the tooth, from which your unique crown will be constructed. While the dental crown is made, the dentist will fit a temporary crown so that you can live your life. Then it is just a case of revisiting the dentist for the final fitting.
You look after dental crowns in precisely the same way as you take care of your natural teeth, by brushing, flossing and having regular check-ups with the dentist. As long as you keep to a good routine, your crowns should last for many years to come.
This will be variable depending on the material and the number of abutments we need for the crown. Your dentist will be able to discuss cost upfront during the initial consultation appointment.