Whether it’s an interesting fact or a full-blown tale, we thrive on stories. It’s why it’s not uncommon for something that’s been around for a long time to gather a collection of myths. Dental crowns have been around for a surprisingly long time, so you may not be surprised to learn that this holds true for them—especially because they’ve gone through a lot of changes in recent decades. Nowadays, dental crowns use cutting-edge technology and improved materials to restore and protect damaged teeth.
To help you understand dental crowns better, we’ve broken down 10 of the myths we often hear repeated about dental crowns.
The durability of your dental crown is actually a complicated issue that includes a number of different factors. The material your crown is made from is one of these factors, but so is the fit of your crown. The fit matters because a crown that doesn’t fit well enough can put too much pressure on the surrounding teeth or can form an incomplete seal, letting bacteria reach underneath it. Generally, crowns made from modern tooth-colored materials like porcelain or ceramic fit better than metal crowns.
The materials we’re making crowns from are always improving, too. E.max, zirconium, and lava crowns are new types of porcelain and ceramic crowns that all have higher durability than traditional porcelain or ceramic crowns. They manage this while looking even more natural than traditional porcelain and ceramic crowns and maintaining a better fit than metal crowns.
Additionally, while the metal itself is incredibly durable, it expands and contracts in response to temperature changes from foods and drinks, which can cause the crown to fail or crack over time. Porcelain and ceramic crowns don’t do this, which helps them last longer—around 15 years or more with proper oral hygiene.
Metal crowns do look unnatural, but modern dentistry has developed more and more realistic materials for dental crowns. E.max, zirconium, and lava crowns are the most natural-looking crowns out there. Like other porcelain and ceramic crowns, their shape, size, and shade are all incredibly customizable. Their most unique advantage, however, is that they’re naturally slightly translucent—just like tooth enamel is.
This enables them to achieve a lifelike, aesthetic appearance so effective that you can’t tell the difference between your crown and a natural tooth. The material paired with the artistic design that goes into your crown will ensure that it’s one of the best-looking teeth in your mouth and that it adds to the overall beauty of your entire smile.
Porcelain and ceramic crowns are naturally white, so it may seem safe to assume that they’d stain easily. The truth is that they’re incredibly stain-resistant. In fact, they’re even more stain-resistant than your natural teeth are! This helps your dental crown maintain its color even if you’re a big coffee or tea drinker.
Once your dentist has advised you to get a crown, the sooner you get it, the better. When you get a crown quickly, you’re able to prevent the issue from getting worse, which saves more of your natural tooth. If you need a crown, getting a cavity filling instead isn’t an option. Dental crowns are designed to handle larger issues, whereas big cavity fillings weaken your natural tooth. Over time, the risk of a tooth with a large filling cracking or breaking is much higher.
Getting a dental crown protects your natural tooth structure over the long term and strengthens the tooth, so you’re much less likely to need a root canal or a dental implant down the road. Your dentist will advise the best procedure for your unique situation, so it’s best to follow their advice and seek treatment as soon as possible if they’re telling you that you need a dental crown.
The material that makes up your crown can’t get cavities, but the natural tooth structure beneath it is not immune to decay! Your natural tooth can still get cavities if bacteria make it underneath the crown, and your gums still need the same care they did before you received a crown. This means you should continue to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, floss at least once a day, and use mouthwash daily.
Giving your teeth and gums this daily care helps prevent cavities and periodontitis, the latter of which is the biggest risk to the life of your crown. When you have periodontitis, bacteria have made it beneath the gum line and have started attacking the roots of your teeth, which can cause you to lose your tooth even if it has a crown. Periodontitis has also been linked to increased overall health risks such as an increased risk of stroke and heart disease. So it’s essential not just for the lifespan of your crown, but for your oral and overall health, to continue your at-home dental care routine.
When your tooth is too damaged for a traditional dental filling, you might immediately think of a dental crown as the only other solution. In cases of extreme decay, this very well may be the case—but there’s also a middle ground! Inlays and onlays are porcelain dental restorations that can restore mild to moderate decay in your tooth, saving more of your healthy tooth structure in the process.
It’s always best to save natural tooth structure when you can, so inlays and onlays can be a great treatment option to look into. If your dentist suggests that you need a dental crown, however, you likely need the increased strength and protection that a dental crown can offer.
Thanks to modern dentistry techniques and anesthetics, getting a dental crown isn’t painful! Your dentist will completely numb your tooth before they begin, so you shouldn’t feel any pain at all during the procedure. Once your crown has been placed and the numbness begins to wear off, your tooth will likely feel sore for a few days. It still shouldn’t hurt a lot, though—most people report that it doesn’t cause more discomfort than a normal dental filling. You can manage any discomfort you do feel by avoiding chewing on that side of your mouth, sticking to slightly softer foods, and taking over-the-counter pain medications if necessary.
Your dental crown is tinted to match the color of your natural teeth, but once it’s tinted, it can’t be whitened with tooth whitening treatments. This is why we recommend that if you think that you may want to whiten your teeth in the future, you go ahead and do it before you receive your crown. This way, you won’t have to hold back from future whitening treatments because your crown will no longer match. Instead, your crown can be made to match the new, brighter shade of your teeth!
It’s true that dental crowns are more durable than veneers, but that doesn’t mean that crowns are always the best option for cosmetic dental work. As a rule of thumb, it’s best for your oral health to retain as much natural tooth structure as possible. Veneers are still incredibly durable and are more than capable of standing up to the daily wear and tear on your front teeth, but they save much more of your natural tooth structure than crowns do.
This means that there are certainly plenty of cases where veneers are the best option, but there are also situations where you’re better off getting a dental crown. Which treatment is best really depends upon your individual case and the treatment needs involved. Thankfully, your dentist is here to answer all your questions and help you determine which treatment is right for you!
Dental crowns are incredibly durable, but the truth is that they’re not indestructible—like anything, they have their limits! You should be just as careful with your dental crown as you are with your natural teeth. This means that you should avoid using your teeth or your crown as tools. Don’t use them to open packaging, chew on pens, or crunch into hard items like ice. Avoiding this protects them from chipping, cracking, or breaking, which can save you from an emergency trip to the dentist! If you take care of your crown, however, it’s more than capable of standing up to the same daily tasks as your teeth for years to come!
We understand how difficult it can be to separate fact from fiction when it comes to dental crowns, but don’t worry! We make it a priority to make sure that you understand and feel confident in your dental treatments, so you can always ask your dentist if you have any lingering questions. If you’re ready to start the process of getting your dental crown, feel free to call our office and schedule your consultation at any time.