A dental crown is a ‘cap’ shaped like a tooth that is placed over top of one. Its purpose is to restore the normal appearance and function of that tooth and it can be made from metal, porcelain-to-metal fusion, resin, or all porcelain. They’re usually necessary for teeth that require very large fillings, fractured teeth, teeth worn down due to grinding, teeth that have undergone a root canal, and misshapen or discolored teeth.

Why are they important?

Although dental crowns are not necessarily the first treatment option suggested in the face of substantial tooth decay or damage, they are crucial for a number of reasons. Dental crowns may be used for the following:

  • To hold dental bridges in place
  • To repair a broken tooth or one that has been substantially worn down
  • To protect weakened teeth from breaking
  • To hold together parts of a cracked tooth
  • To support and protect a large filling, where there wouldn’t be much natural tooth left
  • To cover dental implants
  • To make cosmetic modifications
  • To cover and protect misshapen or significantly discolored teeth

Types of Crowns

The first type of crown, made of stainless steel, is prefabricated and used on teeth as a temporary measure. The crown covers and protects the tooth while a more permanent fixture is being made and is used to protect a child’s teeth from decay before their permanent teeth grow in. They are used often for dental treatments with children because they don’t need multiple visits to the office and are more cost-effective.

Another type of crown is one that is porcelain-fused-to-metal and can be color matched to your adjacent teeth in order to appear more natural. A few of the negatives of this type are that wearing to the opposing teeth can occur, more so than with metal or resin crowns, and that the porcelain can chip and break off. They are, however, an excellent choice for front or back teeth or for long dental bridges where strength is a necessity.

All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns work best when a natural tooth-like structure and appearance is one of your top priorities. They are a really good option for those who experience allergies in response to metal and can be used for front and back teeth.

As mentioned, there are benefits and drawbacks to all the different types of crowns. In that regard, we encourage you to speak with us about any options you are considering or if you have any apprehensions about our recommendations.

What to Expect

The process for inserting a crown usually takes more than one appointment. During your first visit, we will examine your tooth to ensure that a crown will be supported well by it and then file it down. If your tooth is broken down substantially, we may need to fill it in in order to make certain it is big enough for a crown to fit.

After this is done, we will take an impression of the tooth and the surrounding area and have that sent away for a crown to be constructed. This is then where the temporary crowns come into play, as we will place them on your tooth to protect against damage or decay until the permanent option is ready.

The second visit is when we will position and adhere the new crown in place and examine the fit. At this point in time, you shouldn’t hesitate to bring up any discomfort you feel so it can potentially be taken care of in-office. However, the way it feels in your mouth will take some getting used, but that will fade with time and soon it will act as a permanent and regularly functioning tooth!

If you are interested in learning more about dental crowns in Portland, ME, contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lawlor.