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Dental Crown – When and Why is it Needed?

tooth preparation before crowns
30 March 2020

A dental crown is a tooth shaped “cap” or “crown” that goes over a damaged tooth in efforts to restore its shape, size, strength and improve appearance. Crowns cover the entirety of the tooth and the best material is usually porcelain or metal depending on various factors, but other materials can be used. Crowns are used to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

Crowns come in all shapes and sizes, and can be used on children and adults for baby teeth and adult teeth for a variety of medical reasons. They have even been used for cosmetic reasons, to cover misshapen or severely discoloured teeth, or purely cosmetic. 

For example, if you’re unhappy with how a particular tooth is shaped/coloured, you can get a crown or veneer (cosmetic second teeth layer for healthy teeth) that’s the same/similar colour to the rest of your teeth and have it covered. Some other cosmetic dental solutions involve using a  gold/silver metal crown to give the patient a metal looking tooth.

The main reason for a dental crown is for a medical situation, where the tooth’s structure and health is compromised in various ways:

For adult teeth:

  • To protect a weak tooth that has suffered from decay 
  • Keep a cracked tooth held together
  • Restoration of an already broken tooth
  • To cover a tooth filling
  • To hold a dental bridge (a large gap in between teeth) in place

For childrens teeth (baby teeth):

  • Protect a tooth at high risk of decay

Children may need crowns due to poor dental care and maintenance.

The crown is installed by fitting it over the tooth. Usually the tooth is reshaped into an appropriate shape so it can fit over the top and be attached and affixed to it. Crowns are made out of very strong and reliable materials, with the idea that they will endure the same routines regular teeth do such as chewing. 

Most people will experience some discomfort and pain after dental crown procedure. This is common, as the gums may not be used to it yet and irritation from the dental cement used. Analgesic medications can be used to help manage the pain, as well as over the counter painkillers such as ibuprofen. It may take some time to get used to as well, but should feel normal again after a few weeks max. If it’s nearing a month and you’re still feeling extreme/intense pain, then notify your dental clinic immediately.

You also need to be a bit more diligent and mindful when you have a crown. Some crowns need a bit more care than your regular teeth. Some general rules are to try and avoid overly hard foods on the crown as it could damage or crack the crown. Avoid foods such as chicken bones, ice or very hard pork crackling. If the crown breaks, you’ll need to go back into a certified dentist to replace. With permanent crowns, only a dentist should remove and replace when necessary. 

You should also practice good and regular dental care at home, just as your would with the rest of your teeth, try to commit to the following:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day (morning and night). If you have sensitive teeth, try using sensitive toothpaste or a dentist could offer you toothpaste with increased fluoride content.
  • Daily flossing can help effectively clean in between your teeth which the toothbrush may miss.
  • Try to avoid clenching/grinding your teeth. If you find yourself doing this and have trouble breaking the habit, look into getting a teeth night guard.

If you are thinking about getting a crown for medical or cosmetic reasons, look into the best dental crown services in Sydney.