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 gumline (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 the anchors for dental bridges.
You may have heard crowns referred to as “caps” by an older person. That was the term when most crowns were made of gold alloy, and were highly visible over a tooth. The tooth was, in effect, wearing a cap.
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.
Benefits Of Porcelain Crowns
A major advantage of porcelain crowns is that they are created to look exactly like, 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 noticeable that they have been used. Because they are the most cosmetically attractive type of replacement, they are commonly used for the front teeth.
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
Placing a crown requires two appointments with either Dr. Smith or Dr. Hiebert. During the first appointment, any decay and damaged tooth material is 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 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.
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.