Crowns are tooth-shaped caps placed by a dentist over a tooth to either protect it from further degradation or to enhance its appearance. On average, dental crowns on average will last between 5 and 15 years.
However, their life-span will depend on the wear and tear they get exposed to as well as how well you take care of them by following the instructions from your dentist. Many patients will be pleasantly surprised to know that cared for well, dental crowns can actually last a lifetime.
Who Needs a Crown
In most cases, dental crowns for the front teeth are for restoration purposes only. Occasionally, it may be for cosmetic reasons. Crowns are the best way of repairing broken teeth or when your teeth have become weak due to tooth decay or following a very large cavity filling. A crown fits over the remaining part of a tooth to make it stronger and also give it the shape and look of a natural tooth.
A crown can be used for several other reasons. For example, if you have a filling that has become discolored to improve its look or when you have had a root filling to protect the remaining part of your tooth. It may also be used help in holding a denture or bridge firmly in place.
Are Front Teeth Crowns Different?
For your molars, the dentist will in most cases recommend a porcelain crown fused to metal. However, for the front teeth, the more popular choice is natural-colored ceramic since they will not negatively affect your smile’s overall look. Generally, your front teeth are subjected to less pressure compared to other teeth such as molars when chewing and as such, durable material isn’t necessary.
Crowns made of porcelain are recommended for the front tooth as the material reflects light just like natural enamel. The color of the porcelain can also be made to match the neighboring teeth. CAD/CAM dental crowns can at times be made during a single clinic visit.
The “Crowning” Process
Most of the dental work gets accomplished during your first appointment. After numbing the tooth, it gets shaped, where parts of your tooth structure are “trimmed” away. During the first appointment, you will also get a temporary crown to protect the trimmed tooth.
The next step once the ideal tooth shape has been achieved is to take a tooth impression as this is important if you are to get the perfect crown fit. The impression is then taken to a dental lab where a plaster cast is used to make the new crown. This can take up to two weeks.
When you and the dentist are satisfied with the appearance and fit, the new crown is fixed into place using special dental adhesive or cement. This takes place during your second dental appointment, known as “crown placement”.
Although your new dental crown can withstand the normal biting, grinding, and chewing, it is still very important that you follow the specific post-care instructions given by your dentist especially on what you can eat with your new crown.
Author: Peter Mayhew
Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.