The Woodlands and Houston TX
Dental crowns, also known as tooth crows or caps, are restorations that are placed over teeth to address trauma and decay. Houston dentist Dr. Scott Young may recommend tooth crowns for the protection and aesthetic perfection of teeth that have been:
- Chipped, broken, or cracked
- Weakened by severe decay or infection
- Worn down through bite irregularities
- Impacted by large fillings
Dental crowns may also be used in combination with bridges and dental implants to restore complete strength and beauty to the smile.
If you are in the Houston area and interested in learning how tooth crowns can enhance and protect your smile, please call (281) 367-5559 or contact Woodlands Premier Dentistry online to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Young.
Types of Tooth Crowns
There are three primary types of dental crowns:
- Porcelain fused to metal
- All porcelain
Dr. Young prefers to place tooth colored (all porcelain) crowns due to their aesthetics and strength. Made of strong and reliable ceramics, tooth colored dental crowns are capable of restoring complete bite and chewing functions while also improving the appearance of your smile. However, if porcelain-fused-to-metal or an all-metal alternative are better in your case, Dr. Young can discuss these options as well.
Porcelain Dental Crowns
Porcelain is an incredibly strong and durable material, but its strength alone is not what makes it ideal for dental restorations. The surface of porcelain crowns looks and feels identical to natural tooth enamel. What’s more, porcelain crowns can be shaded to perfectly match adjacent teeth in color. Combined, these traits allow porcelain crowns to fit seamlessly into your smile.
In addition to looking and feeling completely natural, porcelain is stain resistant and capable of restoring full bite function and strength. These factors give porcelain crowns unique benefits over restorations that can eventually diminish the overall quality of your smile. Porcelain is also incredibly easy to care for, requiring little to no change in your daily oral hygiene routine.
All-porcelain crowns offer a number of distinct advantages, but are not the best solution for every tooth. During your consultation Dr. Young will assess the health and strength of your teeth to help you determine if this particular solution can meet your needs.
The Dental Crown Process
To prepare the tooth for a dental crown, a portion of the enamel, and sometimes even the center of the tooth, must first be prepared. If the decay has spread too far, endodontic surgery (root canal) will first be performed. However, if the level of decay or damage is not too advanced, a tooth crown can be placed after simply reducing the surface of the tooth an appropriate amount.
Once the tooth is prepared, Dr. Young will create a model from which your dental crown will be made. Because every mouth is different, every tooth crown is unique and is created specifically to fit correctly over the tooth it will cover. If the tooth is missing or needs to be removed because the damage is too extensive, a dental implant may work in place of the tooth to support your dental crown.
Your dental crown is created from the mold of your prepared tooth. It is shaped identically to the tooth it is replacing, and will be tinted and polished to match the surrounding teeth. When dental crowns are made of metal covered by another material, a thin layer of metal is formed around the mold of the prepared tooth and the ceramic or porcelain built up over it to create the rest of the dental crown. For all-porcelain dental crowns, the crown is made from a mold that is prefabricated to fit correctly over the prepared tooth.
Once your dental crown is created, it is fit over the prepared tooth before being adhered with a strong dental fixative. During this step, the dental crown will be polished or slightly reshaped to ensure the best possible fit. Not only must your crown fit between the teeth on either side, it also must contact the tooth or teeth on the opposing jaw correctly to allow for full restoration of chewing and speaking abilities. Once the dental crown is fit correctly, it will be adhered to the prepared tooth. The fixative is then cured and, if necessary, your dental crown is polished again. The entire process – from preparation to placement – can take three or more office visits over two to three weeks, but the longevity offered by tooth crowns makes this time and effort seem negligible.
Tooth crown maintenance is incredibly simple and will likely require little to no adjustment to the routine you already have in place. Brushing after every meal and flossing at least once daily will keep your dental crowns clean and attractive in between biannual dental visits. During your routine visits, Dr. Young will check to ensure your crowns are remaining strong and make any adjustments necessary to help them maintain peak functionality for years to come.
Replacing Older Metal Crowns
If you have older metal tooth crowns you would like to have replaced, Dr. Young would be happy to meet with you to discuss your options and help you determine if removal and replacement is feasible. Under most circumstances, metal crowns can be replaced with more attractive tooth colored options, but this is a determination best left to Dr. Young.
You may wish to consider replacing a tooth crown if you find it aesthetically displeasing. However, aesthetics are not the only reason to discuss your options with Dr. Young. Other reasons you may wish to replace a tooth crown include:
- Sensitivity or pain around the crown
- Decay below the crown
- A loose crown
- Damage to adjacent teeth
- Age of the crown
In some instances, metal crowns will last for a lifetime, but it is not uncommon for them to require replacement after ten or more years. During your routine visits to our office, Dr. Young will assess the structure of your existing crowns to make sure they are not in need of replacement.