There are a variety of dental conditions that can compromise the strength of a tooth, things such as cracks and chips among them. A porcelain crown can return the strength, appearance, and function of the tooth, and it will make the tooth look great. Dr. Gill and Dr. Kenson use only porcelain crowns because of their unique combination of strength and beauty.
what is a porcelain Crown?
In a clinical sense, a tooth can be divided into two parts — the root and the crown. The root is covered by the gums and is anchored down into the jawbone. The visible upper part of the tooth is called the clinical crown. When a damaged tooth is covered by an artificial restoration that partially or completely covers the clinical crown of the tooth, this is called a dental crown.
In the past, crowns were often referred to as “caps.” Although this term is rarely used today, it is indicative of what a crown really is. It’s a cap of sorts, fitting over the entire area of the tooth above the gum line, restoring the original size and shape of the tooth. More important, it gives the tooth back its strength.
We only use porcelain crowns at our practice. A dental lab creates the crown to precisely fit your tooth and match the color of your adjacent teeth. So that the crowned tooth is not larger than your original tooth, a portion of the enamel of the tooth is shaved off from the width and height of the natural tooth to make room for the crown.
What Problems Can Dental Crowns Fix?
Crowns can have different functions. They can be used to restore the strength of a damaged tooth. They can cover up serious imperfections. And they can act as anchors for a bridge.
Heres a list of problems a crown can be used to fix or address:
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Teeth with overly large fillings
- Severely worn teeth
- Heavily decayed teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Severely discolored teeth
- Teeth that have had a root canal
- Teeth on both sides of a bridge
Porcelain Crown Procedure
It takes two visits for Dr. Gill or Dr. Kenson to place a porcelain crown. During your first appointment the tooth is prepared. Decay or damaged areas of the tooth are removed and the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. Next, the enamel is shaved down to create room for the crown. At this point, we take impressions and photographs of your teeth that we send to the dental lab to use in the fabrication of your porcelain crown. We also use these to create a temporary crown that we place on your tooth for the approximate two weeks it usually takes the lab to create your crown.
When your crown comes back from the lab, you come in for a second appointment. First, we clean all of your teeth. Then we test the new crown for fit and for color match with the adjacent teeth. If necessary, we may shave small bits off of the crown. Then we permanently cement the crown onto your tooth and you’re good to go. No recovery time is needed; you can immediately use your new crowned tooth to eat normal foods.
why do you use porcelain?
A crown has to be very hard but not too hard. It has to withstand chewing forces, but not be hard enough to wear down the opposing teeth. In older times, gold was the preferred material to use for crowns. The problem was appearance — everyone could clearly see your crowned teeth.
That’s why we only use porcelain crowns. Porcelain has a very similar appearance to tooth enamel. Both tooth enamel and porcelain are semi-translucent, meaning that some light penetrates the surface and some bounces back off. This unique combination gives both tooth enamel and porcelain its pearly sheen.
Porcelain has an advantage over enamel, as well. It is highly stain resistant. Unlike enamel, coffee, red wine, berries, and the like don’t stain porcelain.
Porcelain Crowns Before and After
how long will my porcelain crown last?
Porcelain crowns can last up to two decades. Much of the lifespan is contingent upon your home hygiene. If you take good care of your teeth and gums, your porcelain crowns can last a long time.
porcelain crowns vs. porcelain veneers
Crowns cover the entire visible tooth surface in most cases. Veneers are applied only to the front side of the tooth. Veneers are only cosmetic; they cannot be placed onto teeth that have decay or structural damage. In most cases, crowns are used to return strength to damaged teeth. Really, the only thing the two procedures have in common is that they are made of porcelain.
Alternatives to Dental Crowns
A crown is really the last chance to save a damaged tooth. For instance, a tooth with a large amount of decay or a former large cavity that has fractured is too weak to handle a new filling. A serious crack or large chip also affects the structural strength of the tooth. A crown placed over the tooth overcomes these deficiencies. Otherwise, the only option is to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant or a bridge.