in Portland, OR
When a tooth has extensive damage — something like a deep crack, excessive decay, or a large chip — it may be in danger of needing to be extracted. A porcelain crown can be placed over the tooth, saving the tooth and returning strength and function. At NW Heights Dental, we provide porcelain crowns for our patients in our Portland office.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown (cap) is a restoration that covers a tooth, restoring it to its normal size and shape, while strengthening and improving its appearance. If you think of a literal crown, it sits atop the king or queen’s head, covering the top of the head. A dental crown does the same thing. It covers the entire portion of the tooth above the gum line (which is actually called the crown of the tooth). A crown is a prosthetic that can save a single tooth. It is necessary when a tooth is broken to the point where a filling will not be effective. They are also used to cover cosmetic imperfections and as anchors for dental bridges.
You may have heard crowns referred to as “caps” by an older person. That was the term used when most crowns were made of a gold alloy, and were highly visible over a tooth. The tooth was, in effect, wearing a cap.
What is the difference between porcelain crowns and porcelain veneers
Porcelain crowns and veneers are made of the same strong, stain-resistant material. The difference between the two tooth-coverings is that veneers are intended for cosmetic improvement, while crowns are made for restorative purposes. A crown covers the entire tooth that has been reduced and improves the functional structure of the tooth. A veneer covers only the front surface of a tooth, improving its appearance.
What Does a porcelain crown Help Correct?
The purpose of a crown is to restore the strength in a tooth. At NW Heights, we use porcelain crowns to address the following problems:
- Chipped teeth
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Teeth with large fillings
- Severely worn teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Severely discolored teeth
- Teeth that have had a root canal
- Teeth with fractured fillings
- The teeth on both sides of a bridge
Types Of Dental Crowns
There are several different methods of crown restoration, each using a different crown material. Different types of crown material include:
- Porcelain Crowns
- Resin Crowns
CERAMIC OR PORCELAIN CROWNS
These crowns provide the best natural color of all the dental crowns. They are commonly used because they are the most cosmetically pleasing.
All resin crowns are the least expensive type of dental crown. The drawback is that they are more prone to chips and fractures than other crowns and tend to wear down over time.
What are the Benefits of Dental Crowns?
A major advantage of porcelain crowns is that they are created to look exactly alike, or even better than, the teeth they are replacing. They are available in a wide variety of shades in order to perfectly match them to existing teeth. Extremely natural-looking, it is rarely noticed that they have been used. Because they are the most cosmetically attractive type of replacement, they are commonly used for the front teeth.
Who is a candidate for a Dental Crown procedure?
Many adults receive a dental crown at some point in their lives. Reasons that dental crowns become necessary to include:
- A tooth has been severely damaged by decay or trauma.
- A root canal is needed to remove a deep infection from a tooth.
- Tooth loss is being treated with a dental implant and crown.
Dental crowns provide the structure that a tooth needs to be restored to its full integrity. Good candidates have sufficient tooth anatomy present to repair the damage that has occurred.
What should I expect at my Porcelain Crown consultation?
Porcelain crown consultations usually begin as a routine checkup and cleaning or an appointment that has been made to evaluate a toothache or injury to a tooth. First, the dentist performs a thorough examination of the tooth. X-rays may also be taken. This shows the extent of damage and indicates whether or not the root has been affected. After fully observing the tooth and the structures around it, the dentist discusses treatment options. Patients can expect to receive detailed information about their crown options, including the pros and cons of each.
The Dental crown procedure
Placing a crown requires two appointments with Dr. Smith. During the first appointment, any decay and damaged tooth material are removed from the tooth. Next, the healthy exterior of the tooth is buffed down slightly on all sides and the top to create room for the crown. We then take impressions and photographs of your teeth to create a blueprint for the dental lab to use to manufacture your crown. The lab needs to make the crown to the shape of your overall tooth, plus it needs to match the color of the adjacent teeth. Fabricating your crown takes around two weeks, so we place a temporary crown on the tooth to protect it until the permanent crown is finished.
When your crown is finished, you return for your second appointment at our Portland office. We clean your teeth and then check the crown for fit and for the color match with the adjacent teeth. If need be, we’ll adjust the underlying tooth or buff a bit from the crown. Once everyone is satisfied, the crown is cemented permanently onto your tooth and you’re finished. No recovery is needed; you can eat normal foods as soon as you leave our offices.
Porcelain Crown Patient Testimonial
“Crown replacement fitted perfectly. Dentist paid a lot of attention to details of fit and bite. Work was done in a timely manner.”
Francis M. – November 2016
How long does a Dental Crown procedure take?
It takes two separate appointments to get a dental crown. The first appointment involves preparing the tooth to receive its restoration. This appointment can take an hour to ninety minutes. After preparing the tooth, the dentist takes an impression to send to the dental lab. A temporary crown is then placed over the tooth that has been reduced. This prevents debris from damaging the softer tooth material and also minimizes the sensitivity one may experience. The temporary crown is affixed with dental cement only so patients need to avoid eating hard or sticky foods until they receive their final crown.
The second appointment involves removing the temporary crown and seating the restoration that will be in place for several years. This visit may also take about an hour. The dentist will evaluate the fit of the crown, ensuring that it fits well against adjacent and opposing teeth. If necessary, adjustments are made to the crown before it is bonded to the tooth.
How long will my porcelain crown last?
Porcelain crowns can last for decades, but their endurance is often tied directly to your home hygiene. After all, the porcelain crown won’t decay, but the tooth underneath it still can. Other bad habits such as chewing ice and biting your fingernails can shorten the lifespan of a crown.
What are the risks of getting Porcelain Crowns?
Dental crown treatment is something that requires time and skill. Because the tooth is prepared to ensure the crown fits properly, there are risks for certain complications. These include:
- Sensitivity. The reduction that is necessary to accommodate a dental crown can leave a tooth vulnerable to lingering sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. In most cases, this side effect resolves once the final crown has been seated.
- Nerve damage. A dentist works very carefully to avoid overstimulating the nerves at the center of the tooth. When a tooth has been injured or infected, the roots and nerves may be removed through root canal therapy.
Once a crown has been affixed to the tooth, there are minor risks of bite issues, crown damage or loss, gum irritation, and allergic reaction. The dentist takes time to carefully assess how the crown fits at the time of treatment to reduce the risk of bite issues and gum irritation. The careful bonding technology makes the risk of the crown falling off very low. Allergies are most often related to the use of metal crowns. The risk of an allergic reaction to porcelain crowns is very low.
Are Porcelain Crowns painful?
The dental crown procedure is not painful. Because the tooth is reduced to accommodate the crown, and this requires the use of a dental instrument that causes vibration, the dentist administers a local anesthetic into the tissue around the tooth. Patients may feel a pressing sensation on the jaw, but this is not painful. After the tooth is reduced and the anesthetic wears off, the area may be slightly sore or tender. Over-the-counter medication can be taken to manage comfort.
How to Care for Dental Crowns
Porcelain crowns are generally durable and long-lasting and require no more care than natural teeth. Your new crown doesn’t need any special treatment, just normal flossing and brushing every day. And don’t forget your regular professional cleanings and exams with the team at NW Heights.
In some cases, a patient who grinds her or his teeth during sleep may require a custom mouth guard to prevent excess pressure from causing a crown to crack.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in learning more about dental crowns, contact our office at 503.646.1463 to schedule a consultation today. You can also click here to fill out our Contact Form, and our talented team will help you arrange your consult. NW Heights proudly serves patients in Portland, OR, and surrounding areas.