Hello to all readers on behalf of Erin Fontenot, DDS, your local expert for trusted dental services in Lafayette, LA. Restorative dentistry, specifically the use of dental crowns, is a large part of our practice. We see a variety of patients who either have dental crowns or are considering dental crowns as part of their treatment plan. We hope to provide useful information and guidance regarding the care and maintenance of dental crowns.

What are Dental Crowns?

For the uninitiated, dental crowns serve as ‘caps’ for your teeth. They are used to restore worn, decayed, or cracked teeth. They improve both the appearance and functionality of your teeth, allowing you to maintain a confident smile and the ability to eat comfortably. Dental crowns fit over the damaged tooth, mimicking the natural shape and color of your adjacent teeth.

What Materials are Available?

Zirconia

Zirconia crowns are renowned for their strength and durability. They are made from zirconium dioxide, a tough ceramic material that can withstand the wear and tear of everyday use. Zirconia crowns are aesthetically pleasing due to their translucency, which closely resembles that of natural teeth.

Metal Crowns

Metal crowns are known for their exceptional strength and longevity. They are usually made from high-grade metals like gold, palladium, nickel, or chromium. Metal crowns rarely chip or break and are a good choice for out-of-sight molars due to their metallic color.

Ceramic

Ceramic crowns are popular for their natural tooth-like appearance. They are made from porcelain-based materials and provide excellent aesthetic results, especially for front teeth. Ceramic crowns are also biocompatible, meaning they are less likely to cause allergic reactions.

Porcelain

Porcelain crowns are highly valued for their ability to match the color of natural teeth. These crowns are often fused to a metal base for added strength, making them a great combination of aesthetics and durability, particularly for front teeth.

Gold Crowns

Gold crowns are a classic choice, appreciated for their reliability and strength. Made from a mixture of gold, copper, and other metals, these crowns offer a high level of durability, making them an excellent choice for back teeth where chewing forces are greatest.

Resin

Resin crowns are an economical option, made from a composite resin material. While they are less expensive than other types of crowns, they tend to wear down over time and are more prone to fractures compared to their metal or ceramic counterparts.

Stainless Steel Crowns

Stainless steel crowns are typically used as a temporary measure. They are often used in pediatric dentistry as they can be easily fitted over a child’s tooth, protecting it while the permanent tooth is developing.

Alloys

Alloys used in dental crowns can be a mixture of various metals including gold, silver, platinum, and nickel. These alloys provide strength and resistance to corrosion, making them suitable for back teeth where the stress from chewing is significant.

Dental Composite

Dental composite crowns are made from a mixture of acrylic resin and finely ground glass-like particles. They offer a balance between strength and aesthetics and can be color-matched to the surrounding teeth for a more natural look. However, they may be more prone to staining and wear over time compared to other materials.

Lifespan of Dental Crowns

While the lifespan of dental crowns can vary greatly patient to patient, an average crown can be expected to last around 10 to 15 years, depending on its material, your oral hygiene habits, and the wear and tear it is subjected to. Porcelain and ceramic crowns, popular for their natural appearance, may not last as long as gold or metal crowns. However, by integrating quality maintenance habits into your routine, you can maximize their lifespan and ensure a healthy, happy smile for years to come.

Maintenance and Care Tips

Optimal performance of dental crowns relies heavily on their maintenance. These care tips can help prolong the lifespan of your dental crowns:

Proper Oral Hygiene is Essential

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, paying special attention to the area where the gum meets the crown.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush to avoid wearing down the crown material.
  • Floss daily to remove food particles and plaque from around the crown area.

Regular Dental Check-ups are Crucial

  • Schedule regular dental check-ups. Your dentist will examine the crown for any signs of deterioration, and can catch any potential problems early.
  • Go for professional cleanings every six months, ensuring that your crowns stay plaque-free.

Eating the Right Foods

  • Limit consumption of hard foods, such as nuts or bone-in meats. These can potentially damage the crown.
  • Avoid sticky or chewy foods that might dislodge the crown.
  • Minimize intake of staining foods or drinks – coffee, tea, wine, or berries – if you have porcelain or ceramic crowns as they can cause discoloration over time.

Using a Night Guard

  • If you are a habitual tooth grinder or clencher, ask your dentist about a night guard. It can protect your dental crowns from excessive wear while you sleep.

Dr. Fontenot aims to provide not only expert dental services but to also enable our patients in Lafayette, LA to become knowledgeable about dental health. Knowing the ins and outs of dental crowns can result in longer crown lifespan, less visit to the dentist for major issues, and overall healthier teeth.

Remember, maintenance and regular check-ups are key. By adhering to these simple tips, you can ensure that your dental crowns stay in tip-top shape for many, many smiles to come. If you have any further queries about dental crowns, their lifespan, or if you are considering getting a dental crown, feel free to visit us or give us a call. We’re here to help you continue smiling with confidence.

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