If you live in the United States, the odds are extremely high that at some point in your life you will find yourself with a dental crown. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, 2.3 million implant-supported crowns go into American mouths each year, and that is not counting the crowns that are installed on existing tooth structures! However, if you have not yet had any crowns, you may not know much about them. Here are three basic questions to ask your dentist about crowns:
1. What will this crown fix?
Often, patients try to self-diagnose their dental issues and simply call up their dentist to request a crown to alleviate tooth pain. In many cases, the dentist may go with the crown option simply because it is what the patient has requested and the crown will, in fact, address the problem.
However, crowns are not always the best solution for tooth pain. For example, if your tooth is “crazed,” meaning it has stress-induced lines on the enamel, then you might not actually need a crown. Sometimes patients see the lines and feel some pain in a tooth and assume it is cracked. Craze lines can be remedied with tooth whitening while you address your tooth pain in a less invasive way.
2. What will my crown be made of?
Traditional crowns are made from porcelain that has been fused to metal framework. However, these crowns may require additional oral framework, cause gum discoloration, and even evoke an allergic reaction in some patients. Also, porcelain crowns may weaken over time if you grind your teeth.
For those aggressive grinders among our patients at Dr. Pat Crawford’s practice in Kenosha, Wisconsin, we also offer zirconium (sometimes also called “zirconia”) crowns. Zirconium crowns are made from a silicate that may be bonded or cemented, which allows for more options when your dentist is installing them. Zirconium crowns are very strong, making them ideal for people who grind their teeth heavily.
3. Will there be any follow-up surgery in my future?
Although no dentist can predict the future, the odds of needing to replace teeth adjacent to your tooth with a crown is much less if you have a zirconium crown because these crowns are smooth and nonporous. At Dr. Crawford’s practice, we try to keep as much of your healthy tooth structure intact as possible when we install both types of crowns in order to reduce the likelihood you will need a root canal in the future. Fully 85 percent of patients who have full crowns where the healthy tooth structure is amputated end up needing a root canal at some point in the future.
If you have been wondering if a crown was really the right move for you, Dr. Crawford can help you figure this out! Contact him and read more by visiting PatCrawfordDDS.com.