Dental Crowns are one of the most important dental procedures that is conducted these days. Getting a dental crown can fix most of the dental issues a patient may have with regards to their teeth. A dental crown sits right on top of the original tooth and helps restore the function of the original tooth, for whatever the reason that the tooth was originally removed. Dental Crowns are one of the most common dental routine procedures and can serve many different purposes. They also come in two different types - Temporary Crown and Permanent Dental Crowns. As the name suggests, the temporary crown serves its purpose until the permanent crown takes over. Features of Dental crowns, their types, the materials used to make them and the method to care for them is discussed in detail here.
Features of Dental Crowns
Dental Crowns are used as a post operative procedure or a method to cover up the original damaged tooth to restore the functions of the original tooth. Dental crowns can be required because of many reasons and some of the most important reasons are mentioned below:
- A Dental crown is required when the original teeth is decayed or has large cavities
- A Dental crown is required when the original teeth has been damaged
- A Dental crown is required after a root canal treatment
- A Dental crown is required when the original teeth is broken or fractured
- A Dental crown is required when the original teeth is misshapen
- A Dental crown is required when the original teeth is discoloured
- A Dental crown is required when the original teeth has been severely worn
These are some of the cases where a dental crown may be required by the patient. Dental crowns are absolutely safe and by far the best dental option to cover up most problems with regards to a tooth.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are primarily two types of dental crowns in the market based on their usage period:
Permanent Dental Crowns
A Permanent dental crown is a type of crown that stays in your oral cavity for about 10 to 20 years based on the material or the crown chosen by the patient. This is the final crown that is measured and made exactly to suit your jaw line after taking careful measurements and contouring and trimming the crown to suit the space in which the crown needs to be fit upon. Permanent dental crowns are mildly expensive and can range anywhere between a few thousands of rupees and sometimes even more. This is based on the kind of dental crown material chosen by the patient and the technique that is to be used. Some dental crowns can be fit easily whereas there are some that are very technique sensitive and require a lot more time and effort.
Permanent Dental Crowns are made from many different materials such as
- All Porcelain
- Metal Fused to Porcelain
- Metal Alloy
- Composite Resin
Each of these types have their own advantages and their disadvantages based on their appearance, cost, material quality, ease of use and maintenance, ease of placement, longevity etc. Of all the options, All Metal Alloy dental crowns last the longest with minimal care but are not aesthetically pleasing. Zirconia and All Porcelain or All Ceramic crowns are very tooth-like and can look quite natural but do not last as long as Metal Crowns and can be quite expensive as well. They also are quite technique sensitive.
There are many kinds of crowns that are coming up in the dentistry world and there are many that are yet to be tested and researched for their quality and efficiency. Dental Crowns and especially permanent crowns is a vast growing ocean of a science in itself.
Temporary Dental Crowns
Temporary Tooth Crowns or Temporary Crowns are used as an intermediary measure between the time that the procedure on the damaged tooth is completed and the permanent crown is prepared by the dental lab based on the measurements and requirements of the patient. The time taken to prepare and contour the permanent crown can be long and can range between a few weeks to even a month based on the material choice.
In the meanwhile, a treated tooth is never recommended to be left on its own as it is very vulnerable to infection, breakage and damages to the rest of the teeth nearby. A treated and scaled down tooth will no longer be able to function without assistance as it is worn down manually by the dentist so that there is space for the dental crown. This can cause the teeth to be exposed and cannot be used for regular chewing or mastication purposes. It also helps in making sure the rest of the teeth around the treated tooth do not drift apart.
Temporary crown costs anything between a lower thousands to an upper thousands of rupees range based on the material that is being used. In most advanced dentist offices, temporary crowns are made in-office by the dentist unlike permanent crowns that are made off-site at a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are also much easier an option to maintain and take care of when compared to waiting for a permanent crown meanwhile.
Temporary crowns, just like permanent crowns can be made for both posterior and anterior positions. Posterior crowns are mainly molars which require good durability and strength. Anterior crowns do not need a great degree of strength when compared to posterior crowns. Temporary crowns for anterior teeth are also quite difficult as the preferred material for temporary crowns are Stainless steel and Acrylic based materials. Acrylic based materials such as Polycarbonate, Plastic or composite can be better alternatives for a temporary crown in the anterior section of the mouth.
Reasons to get a Temporary Crown
There are many reasons that make it pivotal to get a temporary tooth crown before going ahead with a permanent crown and some of the most important ones are listed below:
1. Masticatory Function
One of the most important reasons why the treated tooth, which is worn down by the dentist, should not be left as such is for the fact that the tooth will no longer have its masticatory functions. This can be solved simply by installing a temporary crown so that the patient can carry on normal eating and speaking function without actually having to go on for longer periods waiting for the final permanent restoration and its adjustments
2. Aesthetic Appearance
Aesthetically speaking, a worn down tooth that has either been cemented or left as such may pose a challenge with the way it appears, especially if the tooth is in the anterior region. Even with posterior teeth, a missing tooth can create an empty space which might be visible during day to day activity and therefore getting a temporary crown can prove to be useful
3. Prevent further infection
Leaving a worn down treated tooth can invite bacterial and microbial attack as the gum and the root of the tooth is exposed and still vulnerable from the treatment. It can easily be further decayed or damaged if left for longer periods. It may also cause problems and infection for the gums nearby and eventually affect other teeth. It can also protect the dentinal fluid movement in exposed dentinal tubules and prevent hypersensitivity
4. Prevent Problems in other Teeth
When a tooth is removed or scaled down after a procedure such as decay removal or root canal, it can create a gap in the jaw line causing the drifting of the nearby teeth when left as such for a long period of time or also lead to over eruption of the opposing teeth. The teeth may remain unaligned for a long period of time which can cause disturbances over a period of time.
5. To ensure correct choice of Permanent Crown
A temporary crown can help in understanding the behaviour of the permanent crown if the material chosen is similar. It can also help in creating correct contours and trimming based on the temporary crown. For patients opting for metal alloy crowns such as gold crowns, the temporary crown can be left in place as such to let the tooth adjust naturally. These are some of the most important reasons why getting a temporary crown is important.
Temporary Crown Materials
Temporary crowns are majorly made from stainless steel or acrylic based materials that come in various forms which can be fitted and trimmed in the dental office based on the tooth cavity. Some of the most important materials used for Temporary crowns are:
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless Steel and Aluminium crowns are the most preferred type of temporary crowns as they get a good job done at a very moderate cost. Although they are not very pretty to look at because of their metallic colour, if the tooth to be restored temporarily is in the posterior region, it is best advised to go with stainless steel or aluminium crowns. Not only are they strong and durable, they also are fre-fabricated, which means that they come in different sizes and shapes and can be altered according to the size of the tooth restoration required by the patient in the dental office. A dentist can easily choose the right size or shape from the available spec and contour and trim the crown based on the measurements of the tooth
Making a polycarbonate crown is done in the dental office with the patient within a few hours. It is made with a translucent tooth coloured shell that is contoured and trimmed based on the tooth and once the fit is achieved, acrylic resin is poured on top of the shell. The restoration is made to sit for a few hours and trimmed based on the fit after the shell is removed. This kind of restoration can be done for any kind of teeth but mainly where there is a requirement for aesthetic purposes. Polycarbonate crowns are quite easy to make and easy for maintenance while the permanent crown is being made. It has a tooth like shade to it which makes it easy for the patient as it disguises the teeth for the short while when the crown is being prepared.
Clear plastics are another option used for anterior teeth that needs a temporary crown. They can be easily trimmed with the help of scissors and even allows for making small holes at the canine tips and cusp for avoiding risk of bubbles before filling in with acrylic resin. Once the plastic crown is placed and trimmed according to the tooth measurement, acrylic resin is poured over and set for a few hours. The restoration can be checked for fit and placement and may even be asked to bite for a proper fit. This kind of crown cannot be used for extreme bite force or strength and can serve best as a temporary anterior crown until the original restoration arrives.
The best part about composite crowns are that they are preformed, just like the stainless steel crowns. They are soft and malleable and can be made at the dentist's office on the spot based on the measurements taken. They are partially cured for a few seconds within the mouth and then allowed to set for a few hours outside. Once the restoration is ready, it can be checked for fit and trimmed accordingly before sealing in with a temporary adhesive or cement They are one of the easiest materials to work with when it comes to temporary crowns but do not have much strength. It can be used only for a few weeks and needs to be replaced with the permanent crown as soon as possible.
Taking Care of the Temporary Crown
A temporary tooth crown needs to be cared for very particularly and sensitively as temporary crowns are not cemented with permanent cements or adhesives and there is a slight chance that improper hygiene or practices can harm them. A temporary crown does have the risk of fracture, breakage or falling off if the patient exercises excessive force with the crown. Below are some of the best tips to care for your temporary crown for the short while that the permanent crown is being prepared:
Choose to eat softer foods for the short duration before the permanent crown arrives or atleast avoid difficult foods that may get stuck or cause problems to the temporary crown such as toffees, hard meats, bones, crusty breads, crunchy vegetables such as carrots, nuts and corn on the cob, chewing gum, ice etc
Avoid eating or drinking beverages that either too cold or too hot as they can mess with the dental adhesive which is not meant to glue the temporary crown permanently and therefore may come loose with extreme food temperatures
Be careful when flossing or brushing too hard. Be very gentle so as not to disturb the temporary restoration. Floss from side to side and not too deep. Brush gently on the surface of the teeth
Since the gums and the original teeth are still fresh from the procedure and the adhesives are only temporary, food and germs may still be present and get stuck around the location, so keep your mouth as clean as possible by rinsing often, using mouthwashes and brushing twice a day.
If a temporary tooth crown falls off, call your dentist immediately as the area should not be left open for a long time. Get an appointment to get your crown back in or replace with a new crown immediately.