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Dental Crowns & Bridges:

A Detailed Guide

This guide covers dental crowns, meant for anyone interested in finding out if crowns are right for them.

In this new guide, you’ll learn the ins & outs of crowns, including:

  • What dental crowns are
  • Why are crowns needed
  • Who are good candidates for crowns
  • How crown placement procedures go
  • Lots more

So if you’re interested in learning more, this guide is for you.

Let’s dive in.

Felipe - Batch 1 - Dentist Joke - King Crowned
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Part 1

Intro to Dental Crowns

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What is a dental crown?

A dental crown, as suggested by its name, is a crown for your tooth, acting as a tough outer shell; the crown is a cap for your damaged tooth. 

Teeth are an essential part of us. Not only for digestion, which ideally starts from the mouth itself and teeth contribute to chewing the food but also so that you wear a beautiful smile.

Having a damaged tooth will hamper the chewing, but if it is visible enough while you smile, it can make you feel uncomfortable.

Ideally, teeth are essential because of their primary function and the impact they bring to you as a whole.

Part 2

Do You Need A Crown?

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Dental crowns may be needed for a variety of reasons, from fragile teeth, to a root canal treatment.

If you are someone who has one or more fragile teeth, you might have a tough time chewing your food.

This hampers the primary function of the teeth. Hence, the dentist might suggest you undergo dental crown implantation for the affected teeth.

This will help you restore your teeth’ strength, at least to the extent to be able to chew comfortably.

Tooth cavities are generally treated through fillings.

However, if the cavity is severe and dense, fillings occasionally are not reliable.

This is when your dentist would recommend you to have a dental crown instead.

After you have undergone a root canal on the infected area, you might also need to secure it with a dental crown.

Sometimes, a permanent tooth does not grow after the milk tooth falls out.

It is also possible to lose a tooth in a mishap.

You would need to cap the missing tooth with the dental crown.

Remember seeing anyone with a cracked tooth.

Well, that might be due to an involuntary accident.

In case the tooth is severely cracked and worn out, one might need a dental crown.

Part 2

Dental Crown Materials

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You might come across various types of dental crowns; the materials of dental crowns can include porcelain, metal, zirconia, composite reason, ceramic, or even a combination of materials.

Choosing Your Crown Material

The most suitable material is chosen after considering a range of criteria including:

  • The location of the tooth which needs a cap,
  • The health of the tissue around the tooth needing the crown,
  • How much the tooth requiring the crown shows while speaking or smiling,
  • The remaining size of the natural tooth,
  • Whether the tooth is a molar, premolar, incisor, canine, and so on (since functions of these different types of teeth differ from one another),
  • And the colour of the teeth surrounding the target tooth.

Dr. Park analyzes your teeth based on the above points and chooses a material for the dental crowning based on his analysis.

However, you are free to discuss your personal choice with the Dr. Park when it comes to dental crowns.

He can then suggest whether or not that crown will be right for you.

Common Materials for Crowns

Crowns made completely of porcelain are extremely popular.

This is partly due to their aesthetic; they appear quite similar to natural teeth. They are capable of looking as per the shape, size, and color of your natural teeth.

However, as they are not too strong, they cannot be used for long periods continuously and also need to be taken care of when in use. This is why these crowns are not suitable for people suffering from bruxism, which causes excessive clenching or grinding.

Complete porcelain is slightly more expensive than other porcelain-based options that may be fused with other materials to make it stronger. Though, this might not provide as aesthetically identical a result that of pure porcelain crowns.

Since they are not as resilient as other solutions, complete porcelain is frequently used for front restorations only, as they cannot bear as intense chewing or biting.

Porcelain crowns are free from metals or toxins, and are rarely known to cause any allergies.

  • These dental crowns fit well for the front teeth. The texture of Ceramic Porcelain-based crowns blends easily with your natural teeth. These can be given a color as per your natural teeth. As these crowns tend to be dainty when exposed to the heavy force due to chewing, they are best suited for front teeth and not for molars or premolars.

These dental crowns are durable as they comprise of metal. The porcelain, on the other hand, tends to make the teeth appear realistic. These crowns are one of the most popular as well as pocket-friendly and have been working well for around fifty years now. A porcelain brown is known to provide a realistic appearance. However, as this crown is not of porcelain alone but is fused with metal instead, the crown has a thin grey line near the gum line. This might hence hinder a completely realistic look that a porcelain crown is capable of providing. The crown may also wear down early if you are habitual of clenching your teeth too often.

Gold crowns are very strong and do not comprise of gold alone. They are instead a blend of other metals like copper. This is why they are strong and highly immune. Hence, they are considered a good choice for back restorations. These crowns tend to last long if used with vigilance. But, they are not preferred by many people due to the golden color, which appears to be quite a cliche. They do not tend to look a percent similar to the real teeth. However, if you opt for a gold crown, only a minor portion of your natural tooth needs to be removed to crown it. Also, gold crowns wear out slowly, just like real teeth. But, some people might experience swelling or other allergies as a side-effect of the gold crown.

These crowns are strong as metal crowns while they appear to be natural, just like porcelain. Despite being strong are free from metal and hence free from the infections mental Browns are entitled to. This is why these new material crowns are being adored. Cutting and shaping zirconia crowns is easier as compared to crowns made of other materials. This enables the entire procedure to be carried out in less time. Zirconia crowns are strong; therefore, it is entitled to strong force against another tooth, can lead to damaging the tooth that was clenched along with the crowned tooth. They are long-lasting and do not wear down easily.

These crowns are complete ceramic crowns made of lithium disilicate. E-max is the recent material being used for preparing dental crowns. These crowns are extremely durable and appear to be just like your real teeth. What adds to the plus points of these lithium disilicate crowns is that they can be used effectively for both front and back restorations. However, these crowns are expensive. Unsuccessful crowning has been reported by many professionals, especially when dealing with multiple crownings.

Part 4

Types of Crowns

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Traditional Crowns

In general, dental crowning requires at least two seatings.

The first one involves X-ray and other necessary analysis of the tooth that needs to be crowned. The doctor then formulates the requirement of the material, size, color, and shape of the crown required.

Based on this information, the dental labs prepare a dental crown for you. The process of making the dental crown in the lab might take a day or more. Therefore, the patient is supposed to wait until the crown has been made.

If the tooth is every affected and needs a crown immediately, the dentist would set a temporary crown on the target tooth for the meantime. The temporary crown is not so strong and adhesive. Hence, it needs to be cared for until replaced by the actual crown.

This is followed by the second step of fixing the crown to the target site. This is the traditional crowning method.

One Day / Same Day Crowns

Most people find the traditional crowning process full of hassle. Hence, gradually one day or same-day crowns are getting popular day by day.

These crowns are highly convenient compared to traditional crowns prepared in the lab. The one-day crowning requires you to visit the dentist only once, unlike the traditional crowning, which demands at least two seatings.

One day crowns are prepared by the dentist himself with the help of the computer setup and intraoral camera, which creates a three-dimensional image of the target tooth. Further, a complex machine is known as Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC) is used to prepare the crown by the dentist in his clinic on the same day itself.

This is why it is called one day or same-day crown. This is done with CAD/CAM technology that speeds the process yet provides with rightly fitted crowns.

About Temporary Crowns

The name suggests that these crowns are temporarily placed in your mouth.

Temporary crowns are generally placed when the actual crown has not yet been prepared. The crown is usually prepared carefully in a dental lab; hence, it might take a little longer to prepare the crown depending on the crown’s material.

So, until the time the crown is being prepared, the dentist places a temporary crown in its place.

These crowns can be easily taken out as they are fixed using an adhesive. Therefore, they need to be taken care of.

Hygiene of Your Dental Crown

It is important to understand that having a dental crown covers your tooth but does not make it invicincible from decay; you are still prone to getting tooth decay as much as you were prior to the dental crowning.

If you do not take proper care after getting a dental crown, the adhesive tooth cement can steadily wear away, possibly leading to a loosening of the crown. There are more chances of food getting stuck to your tooth in this case. 

Hence, increasing the chances of tooth decay and cavity. If such a case happened, Dr. Park would treat the decay and carry out the crowning process again.

How to Care For Temporary Crowns

1. Minimize the Use of the Temporary Crown

Try avoiding the use of the side of the mouth where the temporary tooth has been placed. Use the opposite side in case of back restoration and avoid biting with the front teeth in the case of front restoration.

2. Eat Food that Requires Less Chewing

Stay away from food that requires to be chewed extensively. For instance, sticky food or food made of refined wheat flour (Maida). These foods are capable of sticking and pulling off the temporary crown. Hence, such foods should be averted. Also, try not to eat hard foods like nuts, etc. Such foods might cause breakage of the temporary crown

3. Take Care of Your Oral Hygiene

Take extra care while brushing or flossing your teeth. Do not brush too hard over the crown. While flossing, do not lift the floss. It might pull out the crown along with the floss. You may slide the floss instead.

Traditional Vs. Same Day Crowns

Strength

These crowns are customized with the fusion of required materials to prepare the crown in the lab. Therefore, these crowns tend to be stronger than the ceramic one-day crowns, which tend to wear out easily.

Aesthetic appearance

The traditional crowns appear to be realistic. The extent to which they appear to depend on the material chosen. However, as these crowns are prepared by experts in the lab, they tend to be more similar to your natural teeth in size, shape, and color.

Waiting Period

You need to wait until your crown is prepared. You will have to revisit your dentist after the crown has been made to fix it at the target site. Until then, you might need to get a temporary crown.

Temporary Crown

During the waiting period, you might need to get a temporary crown on the target site until the actual crown is made. The temporary crown is uncomfortable due to its ill fit and needs extra care and makes the teeth more prone to the cavity as the food might get stuck inside the space of a temporary crown.

Convenience

The process of preparing and laying these crowns is easy for the dentist; on the other hand, it takes only up to an hour. Hence, the patients feel comfortable with this as it requires a single visit and hence saves time.

Comfort

Not only is this method of crowing less time consuming, but it is also less painful as compared to the traditional crowning. You might need lesser injections than you would need during traditional crowning.

Safety

Traditional crowning is subject to a waiting period. During this period, a temporary crown is set in your mouth to fulfill the purpose for the time being. The temporary crown is not a proper fit and therefore has gaps for food to penetrate and get glued to the teeth. Hence, increasing the risk of a cavity and other infections. One day crowns are safe in this aspect as well.

Not As Strong

While the traditional crowns are made out of materials that are most suitable according to the affected site, one-day crowns are made of ceramics. Hence, these crowns are not strong enough and tend to wear out faster than traditional crowns.

Not As Aesthetically Identical

The traditional crowns except that of metals can be given a shade as per your natural teeth. One-day crowns can not be given any color of your choice. You will instead have to stick to the choices you have. Therefore, despite being realistic in appearance, the crowns do not seem to go with your natural teeth color.

Not For Everyone

The one-day crowns may not suit everyone. In some severe cases, the dentist is bound to go with traditional crowns only.

Onlays & 3/4 Crowns

These crowns are used to cover only a portion of the tooth instead of the entire tooth.

This method of crowning is different from the conventional approach. If tooth as the whole does not require a cover or a considerable part of the tooth is remaining.

Instead of conventionally covering the whole tooth with the crown, only the necessary portion is covered. To do this, the dentist removes the affected area and then indulges in reshaping the tooth.

Part 5

Risks of Getting Crowns

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Any medical solution has possible drawbacks.

Although crowns are fairly low-risk, in that the success rate is quite consistent, it is wise to still keep in mind any adverse outcomes of the procedure.

After the completion of the procedure, the effect of anesthesia starts to weaken. Therefore, you might begin to experience extreme pain, discomfort, and uneasiness for some time. In case of severe pain and inability to eat and chew efficiently, you should contact your dentist. He/she might list out things you should prefer and avoid eating.

Crowning doesn’t take away the ability to feel hot or cold through your teeth to your gums. This is why you need to be taking extra care in the initial days. Brush carefully. You can also seek a dentist’s help to suggest a toothpaste that might help in relieving sensitivity.

Crowns made of certain materials like porcelain or porcelain-based metal crowns may occasionally chunk. Small cracks can easily be repaired. However, the repair is temporary. You might soon need a crown replacement. In case of excessive cracking in the initial days, you might undergo a replacement as soon as possible.

Your crown might sometimes loosen due to various reasons. This might cause the same adverse effects as the ill-fitted temporary crown has. This means the ill-fitted crown will enable food to be stuck inside. This might lead to a cavity or other infections. Hence, in case you feel that the crown has loosened, you should contact your dentist without further delay.

An allergic reaction is very rare. However, in a complete metal crown or a crown that has metal infused in it, there are chances of allergies and infections caused due to metals to show up. Although this usually is not the case, if it happens, do not take long enough to reach out for professional help.

Taking proper care after getting your tooth crowned is essential. If you end up brushing too harsh or indulging into any other carelessness regarding the tooth crown, the crown might fall off. This might be due to the loosening of the crown. This generally happens when the tooth cement used as an adhesive to fix the crown comes off.

In case the crown falls, clean your tooth as well as the crown with utmost care. Contact your dentist for the reimplantation of the crown. The dentist might also guide you on how to take proper care of the crown.

If you have a metal-infused crown, the dark streak could just be the visible metal part of the crown. But, if that is not the case, the dark streak could be a sign of decay in the tooth underneath the crown. It might also be due to gum recession, which could be a result of forceful brushing. If the dark streak is due to the metal-infused in the crown and you are not happy with it, you can go for crown replacement with an all-porcelain or zirconia crown, which gives an aesthetic appearance. If this is not the case, seek your dentist’s help to know the reason behind the dark streak and find a solution.

Part 6

Cost of Crowns

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Factors of Crown Costs

Material

Different materials of dental crowns are subject to different costs. Generally, all-porcelain crowns cost the most, followed by all-metal crowns, and then crowns fused with a blend of varying materials.

Surrounding Procedures

Also, prices vary based on lead-up procedures which may be necessary to properly diagnose your need of a crown (for example, an X-Ray or dental exam).

Weight of the Crown

Finally, the actual weight of the crown material is another factor. For example, a small crown on your lower, central incisor would use much less material (and therefore be less expensive) than a full crown on a molar.

Typical Ballpark Cost of Crowns

Since crown costs vary based on the material, lead-up procedures, and weight of the material, rarely are two crowns for the same patient identical in cost (let alone crowns for two different people).

Therefore, it’s just not possible to accurately predict your cost for a crown; though, by visiting your dentist (or our office, in case you live in Calgary), you obtain an accurate estimate of the cost.

Generally speaking, you can expect the cost of a crown in Calgary to range somewhere between $1,200 to $2,000, with some cases going below or above that range.

Alberta Dental Association (ADA) Fee Schedule

Our Calgary office, Glenbrook Dental Centre, follows the ADA Fee Schedule for all procedures, including dental crowns.

Each year, the ADA recommends a baseline fee guide for everything from fillings to implants. In addition to making it easier for dentists to know how to charge, it helps patients guard against being over-charged.

At Glenbrook Dental, we completely follow the Fee Schedule for all our procedures. Meaning, even if from year to year the ADA recommends lowering the cost for a procedure, we follow that guideline and lower our costs.

Part 7

FAQs

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Coming Soon

Part 8

Booking Your Appointment

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Based in Calgary?

Are you looking for a dental crown and located in Calgary, Alberta?

If so, our team at Glenbrook Dental — located in SW Calgary — is prepared to help you protect your tooth with a durable, long-lasting crown as soon as we can book you in.

In addition to following the ADA fee schedule, we can also directly bill to your insurance providers, and offer payment plans with zero interest.

Our Calgary Team at Glenbrook Dental

Once you arrive, you’ll meet with Dr. James Park; a graduate of the University of Alberta, class of 1985, who has gained experience practicing since then in Edmonton and Calgary. 

In addition to having done many crown procedures throughout his career, Dr. Park has also furthered his education by studying at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies (LVI).

He will guide you step-by-step through what you can expect from the procedure and can answer any questions you may have.

To learn more about our team, visit our About Us page.

How To Book An Appointment

Requesting an appointment at our SW Calgary office is just a few button clicks away.

Click on one of the options below and our receptionists, Marj or Uniz, will speak with you right away.

Immediate
(During business hours)

Within 1 business day

Part 9

Further Readings

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