A: Crowns are coverings that we put on teeth that have been cracked, broken, or missing a lot of the natural tooth structure. What they do is they wrap completely around the tooth—on the top and the sides and covers and protects the tooth. Then, the patient can continue using that tooth for the rest of their life.
The More You Know: Dental Crowns In San Antonio
As they are one of the most common restorative procedures in dentistry, dental crowns in San Antonio saves thousands of teeth a year. In fact, the only restorative procedure performed more often is fillings for cavities.
Crowns should, under most circumstances, last you a lifetime. However, accidents happen and you can find yourself with a crown that is chipped or fractured. Whether or not that crown can be repaired or not depends on the severity of damage and what kind of crown it is. Often, patients with dental crowns in San Antonio are just seeking to save a tooth. However, they don’t actually know how the crown works, what it’s made of, and how they can be damaged. Let’s start with the basics first.
What is a Dental Crown?
As Dr. E mentioned, a dental crown is a tooth restoration that encases a tooth that has been broken or chipped. The tooth is not only protected, but its natural appearance is restored as well. Crowns are used in more significant cases of damage that a filling cannot fix.
For example, if someone trips and hits their face, causing a tooth fracture—a crown can prevent further damage. Crowns can also be used cosmetically—such as hiding a discolored tooth. Another common use for crowns is attaching a bridge or preventing a crack in a soft tooth. So, dental crowns in San Antonio can be used in a multitude of situations.
Creating Dental Crowns In San Antonio
Crowns are handcrafted with the assistance of advanced medical equipment to ensure a precise fit. First, a dentist needs to make room for the crown to fit, so the damaged tooth is filed down and reshaped to accommodate. Then, a mold of your teeth is taken and sent to the lab that will create the custom-fit crown. Typically, your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown to protect from further damage until your permanent crown is ready. Once the permanent crown is back from the lab, you will come in for another visit to bond the crown to your tooth. It’s then polished to enhance the natural appearance. How long your crown lasts not only depends on how you care for it, but also the material it’s made from.
What Are Dental Crowns Made From?
Dental crowns are a long-term restoration that can last for a variable amount of years depending on what it’s made of. You see, not all dental crowns are created equal, and each type of crown serves different needs and budgets. There are four common types of dental crowns in San Antonio dental offices that you will find.
- Metal crowns are extremely durable and are made of an alloy consisting of gold, nickel, chromium, and/or palladium. As they are metal, they can stand up to teeth grinding and biting and have a long shelf life. However, being metal, they are best suited cosmetically for molars only since they can’t be colored to match teeth.
- Resin crowns cost less than metal ones but are not as tough. They tend to crack under constant pressure and aren’t recommended for molars. They will wear down quicker and could have a much shorter lifespan. Resin crowns are often only used as a temporary while a permanent crown is being created.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are a hybrid of sorts since their base material is metal and the outer shell is porcelain. However, the porcelain can still get chipped so it’s important to keep that in mind. These crowns do offer a combination of durability and natural appearance and are often used for front teeth or bridges.
- All-porcelain/all-ceramic crowns offer the most natural appearance with an important caveat—they wear down neighboring teeth. Typically, your dentist will only recommend this option if you are allergic to any of the metals used in other options.
How Crowns Or Natural Teeth Crack
Dental crowns in San Antonio should be able to last anywhere from five to 15 years and in some cases longer. Naturally, porcelain and resin options are going to be on the lower end of that life expectancy. No matter which material you go with, the more careful you are with your crowns the more you will get out of them. But, sometimes accidents happen and if a natural tooth can crack, so can a crown. But how can something so hard and rigid crack?
Well, because accidents happen, but also because some habits you may have could contribute to damage. Your tooth or a dental crown can become fractured due to:
- Falling and hitting your face
- Grinding teeth
- Wear and tear
- Biting something hard
While accidents can’t always be avoided, damage due to bad habits can be prevented. For those that grind their teeth in their sleep, a dental night guard will protect your teeth or crowns. Being cautious with your teeth by not chewing on hard things or using teeth as tools is another preventative measure. However, if you end up damaging your tooth or crown—proper care for until you can fix it is CRUCIAL.
How To Care For Damaged Crowns
The first thing to do if you damage your crown is to contact your dentist immediately for directions on how to proceed. Typically, your dentist will schedule you for the next available appointment. However, if the damage is to the point of causing intense pain—you’ll need to see an emergency dentist. Until you can get it repaired or replaced you might notice increased sensitivity to hot or cold beverages and foods.
Look at the damaged crown up close in the mirror, if it’s loose enough, you may try and pull it off. This will prevent you from accidentally swallowing a partially dislodged crown. Rinse your mouth with some warm water and if bleeding, use gauze, and apply pressure to the area. You can also find dental cement at most pharmacies over the counter. This cement can help temporarily keep a crown intact until your dentist can see you.
Who Needs Dental Crowns In San Antonio
Not everyone needs a dental crown for a damaged tooth, it just depends on the cause and severity. Often with smaller cavities, a filling will suffice and protect from further damage. In certain situations where a filling just won’t do, a dentist will suggest a crown as the proper treatment for issues such as:
Cracked or chipped tooth – If you crack a molar but the root is still unaffected, a crown will protect the nerve and restore function. Crowns can also be used to fix a front tooth and restore it to normal function. Most frontal crowns are used for restorative reasons rather than for cosmetic improvement. For strictly cosmetic improvement of front teeth, veneers are usually a better option.
Large cavity – Sometimes, a cavity is just too large for a filling to restore the tooth. This is because there needs to be enough tooth left after drilling to accommodate the filling. In cases of significant decay, a crown functions as a splint for the tooth.
Deeply stained tooth – Sometimes a tooth gets stained beneath the enamel or after a root canal procedure. Also, some medications or overuse of fluoride can result in irreversible staining. In these cases a crown could serve a cosmetic purpose, hiding the stained tooth.
Ground down tooth – Bruxism or teeth grinding is a nocturnal condition where a person grinds or clenches teeth while sleeping. Over the years, this can lead to severely worn teeth and even damage as the enamel gets worn away. This condition is usually a byproduct of stress, sleep disorders, or anxiety.
Make Sure You Get The Best Dental Crowns In San Antonio
Not every dentist is as skilled with the delicate and precise process of applying a dental crown. You need to make sure you do your research before choosing a dentist. Also, if you are in an emergency, you need a dentist that has extended hours.
When you choose JH Emergency Dental, you get the best of both worlds—superior quality and extended hours. Contact us immediately if you need a dental crown. In many cases, we can book same-day appointments!