WHAT ARE DENTAL CROWNS?
Having damaged teeth is inconvenient and uncomfortable. In addition to affecting your appearance, the damage may also alter your normal mouth and your teeth functioning.
A dental crown, or tooth crown, is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over the damaged tooth. This covers the tooth, restoring the shape, size, strength, and improves its appearance. Our natural-looking porcelain crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
TYPES OF DENTAL CROWNS
Previously, there were only metal or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns. With newer technology, the gold standard in dental crowns is now all-porcelain. We are a metal-free dental practice. The two types of porcelain restorations which bond teeth together are:
- 3/4 Dental Crown – If your tooth’s cusp breaks off and makes the tooth vulnerable to future damage, a 3/4 custom-crafted crown will restore functionality in an aesthetically pleasing way.
- Full Dental Crown – This is required when your cusp fracture is more severe, when nerve damage occurs, or if a cracked filling has progressed to decay.
For both of these circumstances, you will have a temporary crown fitted while the lab is creating your permanent dental crown.
WHAT ISSUES CAN TOOTH CROWNS FIX?
Tooth crowns are able to fix the following problems:
- Cracked tooth
- Failed restoration
- Chipped tooth
- Broken teeth
- Severely decayed teeth
Your teeth can be protected with a dental crown and have its original shape restored so that it feels and functions as it did before becoming damaged. All-porcelain crowns protect the remaining tooth as well as metal crowns do. All-porcelain crowns can be expected to last ten or more years if cared for properly.
BENEFITS OF PORCELAIN CROWNS
Our northern Virginia cosmetic dentists use only all-porcelain crowns because they have several benefits:
- Porcelain crowns can be colored and shaped to blend more naturally and aesthetically with your teeth.
- All-porcelain crowns have strong composition.
- Porcelain crowns are resistant to expansion and contraction when exposed to heat and cold.
- All-porcelain crowns are a perfect material for dental implants.
HOW ARE DENTAL CROWNS PLACED?
The idea of getting a dental crown can be daunting for some patients. At Galleria Dental Aesthetics in Virginia, our experienced team of cosmetic dentists and support staff routinely place tooth crowns for our patients in the most gentle and professional manner possible. When you come to our office for a dental crown, we will fully inform you about each step of the process so you feel comfortable and informed. The dental crown process typically takes two office visits.
THE DENTAL CROWN PROCESS: STEP ONE
During the first visit, the tooth will be filed down on all sides as well as on the chewing surface to allow the crown to fit the tooth properly. We must ensure the crown will not interfere with your ability to chew or speak clearly and that it blends seamlessly with your natural smile. It may also be necessary to gently file down the teeth surrounding the damaged tooth to accommodate the crown.
In cases of severe structural damage to the tooth, it may be necessary for the tooth to be built up with composite material so the crown will have enough support structure.
When the tooth is prepared, we will make a mold of the tooth so a perfectly shaped porcelain dental crown can be manufactured by our master dental lab technician. The color will match that of your existing teeth. This process typically takes approximately two weeks.
Rest assured that you will not go home after this first visit without a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth. We understand that our patients will not want their dental work to show; the temporary crown will be matched to your teeth as closely as possible.
THE DENTAL CROWN PROCESS: STEP TWO
You will return to our dental office when your custom-made porcelain dental crown has been delivered. The temporary crown will be removed and the new dental crown will be checked for the proper fit, alignment and color. When all parties are satisfied that the new dental crown is a perfect fit, we will permanently cement the crown to the tooth.
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY DENTAL CROWN?
Be sure to preserve your teeth for life – whether they are natural or porcelain – by brushing and flossing regularly. In addition, keeping your regularly scheduled dental appointments is a pivotal part of effective oral hygiene.
DENTAL CROWNS AND ROOT CANALS
It is sometimes necessary for patients to undergo a root canal treatment prior to receiving a dental crown. A root canal helps to prevent future infection of a decayed or cracked tooth by the removal of the damaged nerve and pulp from within the tooth.
TOOTH RESTORATION: DENTAL BRIDGES AND CROWNS
Dental bridges are wonderful devices to replace missing teeth and keep your natural teeth from moving out of position. In the past bridges clipped in place, and had to be removed for cleaning. Occasionally they would become lost, get broken, or even change shape enough to lose their original fit. Today, the cosmetic surgeons at Galleria Dental Aesthetics can anchor your dental bridge to neighboring teeth with crowns that will hold them in place permanently. The result is that you maintain them as you would your natural teeth, and because the bridge is immobilized, there is less chance of abrasion against your gums and loss of valuable supporting bone structure.
INLAYS AND ONLAYS
If your tooth has incurred damage which is not severe enough for a dental crown, but still requires correction; an inlay or onlay may be a wise choice. Inlays and onlays are made of composite resin. In cases where more strength and stability are required, our lab will create a precision fit, custom-crafted, porcelain dental inlay or dental onlay to meet your reconstructive dentistry services needs.
Inlays work to prevent further damage or decay to your tooth’s upper surface. Onlays are required only if your tooth decay extends to one or more of the cusps of your teeth.
OTHER TOOTH RESTORATION OPTIONS
Why feel like “snaggletooth” when our cosmetic dentists can give you an endearing smile that makes you feel proud? Porcelain crowns can be placed on any tooth and are one of several fixes for damaged teeth. Other options for less damaged teeth, like porcelain veneers or inlays and onlays may be worth considering as well, so ask your cosmetic dentist which treatment is best for you.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
To learn more about how we use dental crowns to improve your smile, please call the cosmetic dentists at Galleria Dental Aesthetics at (703) 448-1020 for a consultation. Our practice serves McLean and surrounding areas in Northern Virginia.
Click here to print the post-operative instructions for dental crowns, bridge, inlay and onlay.