Dental crowns form an integral part of dental treatment and are known to be a treatment option from time immemorial. The basic philosophy of putting a crown on a tooth is similar to that of wearing a helmet while riding. Crowns are a form of protection for weakened teeth.
The everyday biting and chewing puts a load as high as 300 kilograms on the teeth and hence they need to be strong enough to this. A weakened out tooth due to damage, decay or root canals often need additional strength in the form of crowns.
In the earlier days, you could opt for either a metal crown or a ceramic crown and the choices were simple. Today there are multiple options that the patient can choose from and this makes it even more confusing for the patient.
So, how do you decide what crowns are good ?
The basic decision depends on whether it’s a front or a back tooth that needs a crown.
The Front Teeth: The aesthetic demand for the front teeth is extremely high and the best choice would be to opt for an All Ceramic Crown made of Lithium Disilicate. These are beautiful and reflect light exactly akin to a natural tooth. It’s extremely difficult to make out the difference between a natural tooth and the crown.
The Back Teeth: Due to the huge biting loads on the back teeth it becomes extremely essential to pick a crown that will be exceptionally strong. Metal crowns, Metal Ceramic crowns and Zirconia crowns all work really well. Functionally they perform just as well as each other.
Metal Crowns: These are the most inexpensive of all crowns and work very well functionally. They however look unaesthetic in the mouth and not many people want a silver crown in their mouth.
Metal Ceramic Crown: These are the tried and tested age-old crowns and have been around for years. They have an inner body of metal and outer ceramic which looks beautiful and completely natural. These are mid-range and the most commonly preferred crowns.
All Ceramic Crowns: These are crowns made of a white metal called Zirconia. These crowns are all white and hence the name All Ceramic Crowns. These are more expensive than the other variants.
The major difference are in aesthetics .The zirconia crowns are made of Zirconia which is a white metal and being an All-Ceramic crown, they are far more expensive than the other crowns.
Are Crowns the Only Option?
As we get more conservative with our dental procedures, the treatment philosophy has also changed. I don’t do as many full crowns as I do Inlays and Onlays nowadays. It is now believed that cutting the entire tooth for a full crown can be damaging to the tooth and can weaken it further. For that reason, we now restore the teeth with something called Inlays and Onlays.
Inlays and Onlays:
To describe these in really simple terms these are Partial Crowns or half crowns. These are meant to replace only the missing part of your lost tooth structure and make the tooth stronger by reinforcing the tooth.
They are completely natural looking and replicate the tooth. The biggest advantage of doing an inlay or onlay is preserving the natural tooth structure.
What you need to know when getting crowns:
1.The fit of your new crown should be perfect. If you feel you’re not comfortable with the new crown while biting, please let your dentist know immediately. A bad bite can have long-term implications on your jaw.
2.The new crown is meant to protect the damaged tooth. Make sure your dentist checks the fit of the crown with additional x-rays. A badly fitting crown can further damage your tooth and you may ultimately end up losing the tooth completely.
3.If you’re not happy with the shade or colour of your crown discuss it with your dentist. Once the crown has been permanently placed ,nothing can be done to chance the colour.
4. Discuss the most conservative options to restore the damaged tooth. Non-invasive dentistry works best! So if you’ve been delaying that dental appointment for a crown schedule, go right away to prevent losing your weakened tooth
Till we meet again next week then, enjoy the holiday season!
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