A dental crown is often used for treating tooth problems such as repairing a cracked or broken tooth, protecting a damaged tooth or reinforcing a tooth after root canal treatment. When placed properly by a professional dentist, dental crowns can offer excellent, long-lasting results that look great and protect the overall structure of teeth too.
If you’re considering getting dental crowns or have been suggested by your dentist to do so, here are some key things to know about this restorative dentistry procedure.
1. Dental crowns can be used for multiple reasons
There are many reasons why dental crowns are used, but essentially they protect teeth after damage or some form of deterioration. Some instances include:
- To hold together pieces of a cracked tooth
- To safeguard a weak and decaying tooth
- To support and cover a tooth with little tooth left
- To cover discoloured or misshapen teeth
- To disguise dental implants
- To improve aesthetics of teeth
- To support a filling
- To safeguard the teeth of someone who is susceptible to tooth decay or unable to adhere to daily dental hygiene
2. Dental crowns come in various materials
In Singapore, patients get to choose from metal crowns (gold or silver), porcelain fused-to-metal crowns, ceramic crowns, zirconia crowns and stainless steel crowns. The dental crown you choose depends on factors such as your budget, placement of the tooth, the severity of the condition and personal preferences.
At Dental Designs, we prefer ceramic crowns due to their natural lifelike appearance, strength and durability. All our crowns are made in-house and do not contain metals, mercury or other toxins.
3. Not all tooth decay require dental crowns
Dental crowns are usually reserved for teeth with large, noticeable cracks. For small cracks, fillings should do the work. In instances where decay or a fracture is present, root canal treatment may first be performed before placing a crown to support the vulnerable tooth. Not all patients require a dental crown after root canal treatment, but one good way to tell is through the tooth’s structural soundness. Does the tooth have infected roots and large cracks? If yes, the tooth is more likely to deteriorate faster and will need a dental crown.
However, take note that even if a dental crown is not required now, it may be necessary in the future. Even with fillings, teeth that contain minor cavities or fractures could break down in the long run — this is especially so for patients who grind their teeth or bite forcibly.
4. Your oral habits determine how long your dental crowns last
Dental crowns are generally estimated to last up to 15 years; however, their longevity depends on how well you take care of your crown. Good oral hygiene is for sure an important factor, but certain habits can also affect the lifespan of a crown. For example, clenching or grinding your teeth or biting down on hard objects like ice and bottle caps can cause wear and tear to the crown.
While you shouldn’t expect dental crowns to last indefinitely, they can still last reasonably long with proper care. Studies show that the majority of patients won’t require a crown replacement for at least 5 years, and 50-80% of patients have crowns that last for about 15 years.
5. Getting crowns is a multi-step process
As crowns are usually irreversible, it is important that you and your dentist come to a consensus on getting dental crowns as well as the type of crowns used. Usually, the process will go like this:
A detailed examination is carried out to confirm the problem tooth, the extent of the damage on the tooth, the status of the tooth nerve and the health of the tooth’s supporting gums. Photos and impressions of your teeth and smile are also taken.
Tooth preparation and 3D scanning
A layer of enamel is removed to allow the crown to fit well and preserve the crown’s strength. A 3D scanner, also known as CEREC, is used to create a 3D model of your teeth. At Dental Designs, we prefer CEREC over usual dental moulds which can be messy and painful. 3D models also have a higher accuracy rate and allow us to start working on your crown immediately.
In most cases, a temporary crown is put in place while the permanent crown is being prepared.
Designing your crown
With the help of the CEREC software, we design your unique crown taking into account biting forces and how well the crown fits with your neighbouring teeth. Once the crown is milled, our in-house dental technician adds on finishing touches so that the crown looks realistic.
Placing of crown
Once the crown is completed, it is placed onto your tooth permanently using modern dental adhesives.
6. You can opt for same day crowns
Busy patients can opt for same day crowns, where dental crowns are molded, milled and bonded onto the tooth in a single appointment. We have our own in-house dental lab and technicians to ensure it is possible for dental crowns to be delivered on the same day.
- Wang, F., Tang, Q., Xi, S., Liu, R., & Niu, L. (2020). Comparison and evaluation of the morphology of crowns generated by biogeneric design technique with CEREC chairside system. PloS one, 15(1), e0227050. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227050
- Spitznagel, F. A., Boldt, J., & Gierthmuehlen, P. C. (2018). CAD/CAM Ceramic Restorative Materials for Natural Teeth. Journal of dental research, 97(10), 1082–1091. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022034518779759