To restore the strength and attractiveness of your smile, a dental crown may be appropriate. These tooth restorations address a wide variety of aesthetic and functional issues. They look just like natural teeth, and a single crown fits snugly over the entire upper portion of a tooth to rebuild its structure. To schedule an exam, and to find out how you can maintain outstanding oral health, please call the DENTAL STUDIO at (415) 392-5025. We are located in San Francisco and proudly serve the Bay Area, including Oakland, Berkeley and San Rafael.
What Dental Crowns Do
Tooth crowns are versatile restorations. They protect a vulnerable tooth while enhancing its appearance and strength. Some of the most common uses of crowns are the following:
- Fractured teeth
- Deep cavities
- Worn teeth
- Old, damaged dental fillings
- As part of a dental bridge
- As the cap on a dental implant
- To conceal a discolored or unattractive tooth
As you can see, these restorations work for missing teeth, damaged teeth and cosmetic tooth flaws.
Tooth crowns are also used when root canal therapy is performed. This treatment is often necessary if the infection of a decayed tooth has progressed into the chambers of the tooth root, which is the innermost portion of your tooth. The decay is removed, then the chambers are cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth crown is placed to restore structure, strength and function.
State-of-the-Art Tooth Restorations
Tooth crowns differ by what material they are made of. At the DENTAL STUDIO, all-porcelain crowns are the preferred choice. These ceramic crowns offer outstanding aesthetics as well as durability. They contain no metal, which is particularly beneficial for people with a metal allergy. They are also mercury-free, which allows our patients to avoid the potential toxic presence of mercury. They can be used on back and front teeth.
The process for getting a crown usually includes the following:
- A consultation with the dentist to establish your oral health condition and to ensure a tooth crown is the right option.
- A preparatory appointment, during which impressions, scans and x-rays may be taken so that the dentist can see the anatomy of the tooth and jaw. A temporary crown is typically placed while the permanent crown is fabricated at a dental lab.
- An appointment to have the permanent crown placed.
The process for getting a crown may vary slightly depending on your circumstances. For example, if the crown is associated with an implant or bridge to replace a missing tooth, then the process may be a little different than what is described above.
Although the opposite of a temporary crown is referred to as "permanent," it is important to note that the lifespan of a tooth crown is typically between 5 to 15 years. To extend the life of the restoration, you should practice great dental hygiene. Although the porcelain itself cannot decay, the tooth and surrounding gum tissue can. If you play contact sports, you should wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and tooth crown. And if you have a habit of teeth grinding, talk to our dentists about a mouth guard you can wear at night to mitigate the damage caused by grinding.
The cost of tooth crowns vary. At your consultation, our office staff will be happy to describe costs after you have met with the dentist. We can also help you determine insurance coverage. We also accept various payment plans and financing, which we can show you how to apply for, if you decide to do so.
Tips for Avoiding Dental Crown Damage
Just like your natural teeth, there are things you should do to protect and preserve your crown:
- Brush at least twice a day, for 2 minutes each time
- Floss once a day
- Avoid sticky, hard foods that can crack or pull the crown, or chew them carefully (think ice, caramels, very chewy breads, candy, firm carrots, firm apples)
- Visit our dentists for routine checkups!
Inlays and Onlays
Like dental fillings and tooth crowns, inlays and onlays are restorations that protect teeth weakened by decay. Inlays and onlays are often used to replace old dental fillings. They can be matched to the color of your teeth for a seamless result. Speaking generally, inlays and onlays are similar to dental crowns but recommended when the tooth damage is not extensive enough to warrant a crown.
Let's take a closer look at the two types:
Inlays fit within the teeth cusps, which are the raised points on the biting surface of your teeth. Inlays do not extend over the points. In this way, they are similar to the shape of dental fillings.
Onlays extend over one or more cusps of the tooth. They replace the damaged cusp(s) as well as any decayed portion lying below the cusps.
These restorations are highly durable and tend to stand up to biting and chewing forces for many years. Inlays and onlays are made in a dental laboratory based on impressions of the tooth being restored. The final restoration is then bonded to the tooth by the dentist. In this way, they are more similar to crowns, whereas a dental filling is molded to the tooth at the time of your appointment.
Inlays and onlays are a versatile restoration, and an important part of dentistry designed to protect and rebuild your teeth. The only way to know if they are right for you is to consult our dentists. They will determine your options for rejuvenating the health and beauty of your smile.
Find Out If You Need a Dental Crown
To find out if a dental crown can restore your dental health and the appearance of your smile, please call the DENTAL STUDIO (415) 392-5025. Our dentists and staff proudly provide care to people from across the Bay Area, including San Rafael, Oakland and Berkeley.