Sometimes a damaged tooth can be repaired with a filling but if the damage is too extensive, you may need a dental crown to restore it. Dental crowns are used to cover up damage and protect your teeth from future damage and decay. In this article, we are going to look at how dental crowns are used as a treatment to repair a damaged tooth.
What Are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns or caps are covers that are shaped like your natural teeth. They are placed securely over the damaged tooth and restore its strength and appearance. A dental crown is placed with dental cement and it covers up the visible part of your broken tooth above the gum line.
Treatment To Repair A Damaged Tooth
When is a dental crown used?
Your dentist might recommend a dental crown to
- Restore a tooth that has been worn down
- Protect a badly damaged tooth
- Cover and support a damaged tooth that has a filling
- Cover misshapen or discoloured teeth
- Hold a dental bridge
- Cover a tooth that has been treated with root canal therapy
Generally, if the damage is too extensive for a filling to repair or there isn’t enough tooth structure left to support a filling, a dental crown is the appropriate treatment. Sometimes the cracked tooth might be too severe for a dental crown. If the crack extends very deep and your tooth pulp is infected, you may need a root canal treatment to save your tooth.
Types Of Materials Used For Dental Crowns
A number of different materials can be used for dental crowns, including:
Metal crowns are very strong and durable so they do not break often. They are also very thin, so not much tooth structure needs to be removed to accommodate them. Because of their distinctive colour, metal crowns are usually reserved for back teeth.
Porcelain fused to metal
Porcelain fused to metal gives you the strength of metal crowns with tooth-coloured porcelain for a better aesthetic. On the downside, it is possible for porcelain to crack. Sometimes, the metal below the porcelain shows through, making a dark outline on the gum line.
Resin is an affordable material choice for dental crowns however they wear faster than other materials and are prone to break.
All-porcelain or all-ceramic
Porcelain and ceramic crowns usually offer you the closest colour match to your natural teeth, making them a good choice for front teeth. However, they are not as durable as porcelain fused to metal, and porcelain can cause wear and tear on the opposite teeth.
Which Dental Crown Material Is Best For You?
Your dentist will discuss your options with you, based on the position of your damaged tooth, your lifestyle, and your budget. When making your decision, it is a good idea to find out how long each of the crown materials will last.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Damaged Tooth
Sometimes a tooth might crack or chip and you might not even be aware of it. It is possible to chip or crack your dental enamel and not be aware until your next dental appointment. At other times, there may be warning signs like
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Pain when you bite down
- Spontaneous pain that occurs for no reason
- Stains or discolouration on your tooth
Treatment To Repair A Damaged Tooth: What To Expect From A Dental Crown Procedure
Dental crowns are generally completed in two visits to your dentist. During your first visit, you can expect an x-ray so your dentist can see how deep the damage extends. If there is a risk of infection that could compromise your tooth pulp, your dentist may suggest a root canal for your damaged tooth.
If not, your dentist will prepare your tooth for the dental crown. Some of the tooth structure needs to be filed away to make space for the crown so a local anaesthetic will be used. The amount of tooth structure that is removed will depend on the type of material your dentist is going to use. If a lot of your tooth structure is missing, your dentist will need to build it up with filling material so the crown can cover it.
Once your tooth has been reshaped your dentist will create an impression, to base the shape of the crown on. Once this is done, the impressions will be sent off to the dental laboratory so your dental crowns can be made. While you wait, your dentist will fit a temporary crown in place.
Once it is ready, you will return to your dentist’s office for your second visit, to fit the crown. This is usually done with a local anaesthetic to make the process more comfortable.
If you need treatment to repair a damaged tooth, do not delay as waiting could make the damage worse. Please contact us for professional assistance: (02) 9158 6211.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Repairing a Chipped or Broken Tooth