The term “dental crown” evokes impressions of being ugly and unsightly. While that was true in the past, advancements in dentistry mean that there are now new materials that are both strong and natural looking. No longer are dental crowns exclusively made of metal or gold, which can be easily seen when you are smiling or laughing. These days, new materials like resin and ceramic can recreate the look of natural teeth, making dental crowns a great option to those whose teeth have been worn down. Read on to find out if a dental crown procedure is the right one for you.
What are dental crowns?
A dental crown is the name used by dentists to refer to the visible part of an artificial tooth. Dental crown treatments are done in two main parts. First, the dentist will examine your mouth to determine if a dental crown is suitable for your individual case. If it is, a mould is taken, and a custom dental crown is made for you. Neighbouring teeth might also have to be trimmed if there is insufficient space where the crown is to be placed. The second part of the treatment involves fixing your new crown into position over your natural tooth, making your tooth functionally stronger and aesthetically perfect.
Are dental crowns suitable for me?
Dental crown treatments are versatile and can serve a wide variety of circumstances. A dental crown might be suitable for those whose teeth have been worn down through a variety of reasons, such as old age, decay, or even the way we chew. Dental crowns can be placed over a weakened tooth to prevent the natural tooth from breaking or wearing down further, hence preventing potential dental problems in future. Dental crowns can also restore a stained or misshaped tooth, or to shelter a natural tooth that is more vulnerable following a root canal procedure.
What are the different types of dental crowns?
There are a wide variety of dental crowns to choose from, each with its unique advantages and disadvantages.
Dental crowns made of resin are among the most affordable available. They are also tooth-coloured, making them look just like your natural teeth. However, they are also the weakest of all the dental crowns. As such, they have a shorter lifespan and need to be cared for more carefully because they may chip if you bite on harder foods.
porcelain fused to metal (PFM) dental crowns are a good alternative for those who want a natural looking dental crown. They are also stronger than resin, making them more long-lasting. However, this also makes them more expensive.
Ceramic dental crowns are the most expensive option because they not only look natural, they are also amongst the strongest dental crowns available, which means that you can continue to enjoy eating hard foods without worry. Despite the price, ceramic dental crowns remain the best option for those who are looking for a super long-lasting solution.
If a natural looking dental crown is less of a concern, you can also consider opting for one that is made of metal. Metal dental crowns are more affordable despite also being strong and long-lasting. Even those who are concerned about aesthetics can consider metal dental crowns if its placed towards the back of the mouth, making it less noticeable. While normal metal dental crowns are relatively affordable and long-lasting, some might prefer a gold dental crown, which will be amongst the strongest and most long-lasting options. However, gold dental crowns are not for everyone as they are expectedly expensive and unnatural looking.
How long do dental crowns last?
As mentioned above, dental crowns are not permanent because, like our natural teeth, they can also wear down from prolonged use, or be damaged because of improper care. Their durability is also highly dependent on the material used. Regardless of what material you opt for, dental crowns are nonetheless semi-permanent solutions that can last many years with proper care and good dental hygiene.
What are some problems that can develop following a dental crown procedure?
In the period immediately following the procedure, there might be some sensitivity or discomfort because a nerve might still be present in the area. Your dentist may recommend that you use a toothpaste to combat sensitive teeth or lower the crown that caps on your natural tooth to remedy the problem.
Crowns might also chip, particularly those made from weaker materials like resin. A crown that has been slightly chipped can be repaired, but if the chipping is too severe, a new crown might be needed as a replacement.
Another potential problem is that the crown becomes loose over time, allowing bacteria to enter and causing tooth decay on the natural tooth below the crown. In serious instances, the crown might fall off if the natural tooth is too severely decayed. Some materials, like metal crowns, can also cause a dark line to appear. While this does not cause any health or functional problems, it might nonetheless be an aesthetic concern for those who want their dental crowns to look as natural as possible.
Are dental crowns expensive in Singapore?
A single dental crown capping treatment will usually cost at least $750 at public dental clinics, with costs rising to more than $2,000. The cost of the procedure is highly variable, depending on the fees charged by the dental practice and the material from which the crown is made from. Given that this is a semi-permanent treatment, the upfront cost of the procedure should not be your only consideration. Speak to your dentist to get specific advice on which type of dental crown suits you best.
Dental crown treatments have indeed come a long way. With advancements in the field of dentistry, you can never really tell who has undergone a dental crown treatment because of how natural it looks and how functional it performs, even when biting down on hard food. While some care and caution to prevent your dental crown from chipping is necessary, you can nonetheless enjoy food without too much worry of the crown being damage, particularly if you opt for a crown made of a strong and durable material like ceramic. Be sure to consult your dentist if you are unsure about which type of dental crown is best suited for you.