Everyone desires a dazzling smile that boosts confidence and leaves a lasting impression. But, sometimes, life throws challenges like tooth decay, injuries, or wear and tear. That’s where dental crowns come into the picture as an ideal solution. These restorative fixtures can give you back your confident grin, looking as natural as ever.
Understanding Dental Crowns:
Dental crowns, often simply referred to as ‘crowns’, act as protective covers placed over a damaged tooth or an implant. Their primary purpose? To restore both form and function.
Different materials serve various needs and aesthetic choices:
- Ceramic: Favoured for front teeth due to their natural appearance.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal: Offers strength and a tooth-like appearance.
- Metal (such as gold or another alloy): Known for durability, they’re often used for back teeth.
- Resin: A cost-effective choice, though less durable than others.
Why might you need a dental crown?
- Protection: If decay has threatened to weaken your tooth, crowns serve as shields.
- Restoration: Broken or significantly worn-down teeth can regain their function and shape.
- Support: Teeth with large fillings, especially with only a little tooth left, can be fortified.
- Anchor: Crowns assist in holding dental bridges firmly in place.
- Cosmetic Reasons: Misshaped or discoloured teeth? Crowns bring back their appeal.
- Dental Implants: To cover and complete the appearance of implants
The Dental Crown Procedure: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Initial consultation and diagnosis: Your dentist, perhaps a member of the Australian Dental Association, will evaluate the need for a crown and discuss material choices with you.
- Tooth preparation: This stage might involve reshaping or filing to ensure the crown fits perfectly. Local anaesthesia ensures this process is pain-free.
- Impressions and moulds: To craft a crown that’s a mirror image of your original tooth, an impression of the reshaped tooth is made, typically using dental putty. This mould then heads to a dental lab, where the crown is crafted.
- Temporary crown: In the interim, a temporary crown protects your prepared tooth. This isn’t as robust as the final version, so it’s advised to be gentle while eating.
- Crafting the permanent crown: Dental technicians, in line with Australian health regulations, craft the crown from the chosen material, ensuring a precise fit and a natural look.
- Fitting and cementing the permanent crown: Once ready, you’ll return for a final fitting. After any necessary adjustments, the crown is cemented into place, becoming a permanent part of your mouth.
Benefits of Dental Crowns:
They aren’t just a passing trend in dental care. Their enduring popularity stems from several notable benefits:
- Longevity and durability: With the right care, dental crowns can last a decade or even longer.
- Improved oral functionality: eat, speak, and smile without any hindrance.
- Aesthetic enhancement: Modern crowns blend seamlessly with natural teeth, enhancing their overall appearance.
- Protection: They guard against potential infections, breakages, and further decay.
- Boost in confidence: No more hiding that smile! With your tooth restored, you can confidently beam at the world.
Potential Downsides and Risks:
As with any medical procedure, there are considerations to keep in mind:
- Sensitivity or discomfort: Post-procedure, you might experience some sensitivity, especially to heat or cold. Special toothpaste, readily available at Australian pharmacies, can help.
- Loose or chipped crown: While rare, trauma or biting down on hard foods can damage the crown. Regular check-ups can catch and rectify any issues early on.
- Allergic reactions: Some might react to the materials used, though this is incredibly rare. Always share your medical history and any known allergies with your dentist.
- Improper fit: If not fitted correctly, the crown could become misaligned. The Dental Board of Australia recommends seeking certified professionals to minimise such risks.
Caring for Your Dental Crowns:
Ensuring the longevity and functionality of your dental crowns involves a tad bit of mindfulness and routine care.
- Regular dental check-ups: Regular visits to your dentist can spot potential issues early. Aim for a check-up every six months, as recommended by many Australian dental professionals.
- Meticulous Oral Hygiene: Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash can prevent plaque buildup, safeguarding both your natural teeth and the crown.
- Avoid Hard Foods or Candies: While crowns are durable, biting on hard items can jeopardise their integrity.
- Address Teeth Grinding: If you’re prone to grinding or clenching, it’s advisable to wear a night guard. Over time, this unconscious habit can wear down your natural teeth and crowns.
- Sensitive Toothpaste: If you experience sensitivity with your crowned tooth, there are specialised toothpastes available in Australian markets that can help alleviate the discomfort.
The Longevity of Dental Crowns:
A crown’s lifespan depends on various factors. Typically, with adequate care, dental crowns can last between 10 and 15 years. Factors affecting its durability include:
- Material: Porcelain and ceramic crowns might chip, whereas metal crowns tend to last longer.
- Oral Habits: Grinding your teeth or frequently munching on ice can reduce a crown’s lifespan.
- Oral Hygiene: Regular and efficient cleaning can extend the longevity of your crown.
- Regular dental visits: Detecting issues early can prevent premature replacements.
Cost and Insurance Considerations:
The cost of them varies based on several factors:
- Material: Gold crowns, for instance, might be pricier than resin-based crowns.
- Geographic Location: Costs can differ based on where in Australia you’re getting the procedure done.
- Dentist’s Expertise: Highly experienced dental professionals might charge a premium for their services.
In Australia, private health insurance can often offset the cost of dental crowns. Policies and coverages vary, so it’s crucial to discuss them with your provider beforehand. Additionally, the Australian government’s Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) provides assistance for basic dental services for children, but always check the specifics and eligibility criteria.
They are a testament to advancements in dental technology and practice. Whether it’s to restore functionality or aesthetics, crowns play a pivotal role in holistic dental health, allowing individuals to smile confidently and live without oral discomfort. As with any dental procedure, the key is research, understanding, and professional guidance. By considering the benefits and being aware of potential downsides, you’ll be well-prepared to make informed decisions about your oral health.
For those in need of further assistance or considering getting a dental crown, Mary St. Dental Health provides expert guidance and high-quality dental services.
1: What’s the difference between a crown and a cap?
There’s no difference. The terms are used interchangeably. Both refer to a protective cover placed over a damaged tooth.
2: How painful is the procedure?
With local anaesthetics, the procedure is generally pain-free. Any post-procedural discomfort can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relief.
3: Can crowns be whitened?
No. Dental crowns don’t respond to whitening treatments. If you’re considering teeth whitening, it’s best to do it before getting a crown, so the crown can be matched to the new shade of your teeth.
4: How often will I need to replace my crown?
Typically, crowns last between 10 and 15 years. However, with excellent care and regular dental check-ups, some crowns can last even longer.