Saving and Restoring Your Teeth
When a tooth has suffered severe damage, dental crowns are often the best way to save it; they strengthen and protect weak teeth while restoring their function and appearance. This ability to save teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted makes crowns one of the most common restorative dental treatments available; even if you’ve never needed a crown, you have likely heard of them. Despite their popularity, there are a lot of lingering myths about dental crowns that may confuse or worry you if you’re looking into this treatment option, especially if you’re concerned about spending as little time in public as possible to limit your potential exposure to the coronavirus. To help clear up this confusion, we’ve delved into the truth behind 10 of the myths we hear most often.
Myth 1: Crowns are only necessary for people who have poor oral hygiene.
Since crowns are often used to protect teeth that have suffered a major cavity, there’s a myth that only people who don’t invest much effort in their oral hygiene need crowns. In reality, crowns are often used to repair teeth that have suffered a major injury, such as a crack or break; sometimes they’re even used to hold together the pieces of a badly fractured tooth. People who grind their teeth habitually may also need crowns to restore a tooth that has been worn down over time. These kinds of injuries can happen completely outside of your control, regardless of how much care or time you dedicate to your oral hygiene routine. Additionally, certain illnesses or medications can increase your likelihood of getting cavities or gum disease, so it’s possible to struggle with cavities despite taking good care of your teeth.
Myth 2: They look fake.
Your crown will be designed specifically for you so it blends in with your natural teeth perfectly. Crowns are made of porcelain, which mimics the look of natural teeth. In addition to the porcelain’s gloss, which is much like that of real teeth, the color of your crown can be matched exactly to the shade of your natural teeth. You can also work with Dr. Alhadef to choose the shape of your crown, helping it blend in with your natural teeth even more. The completed crown will be indistinguishable from the rest of your teeth—no one will know you have a crown!
Myth 3: Crowns don’t feel like real teeth.
It’s common to worry that crowns will feel strange, out of place, or may even affect the way you chew, but their customized design isn’t just for appearances; it ensures that your crown fits perfectly in your mouth. When Dr. Alhadef places your crown, he will check your bite and make any necessary adjustments before setting it permanently. This ensures that your bite continues to feel completely natural. The fact that your natural tooth supports the crown means you won’t feel any difference in the tooth’s strength or stability. The biggest difference will be that your tooth will likely feel a lot better than right before you received treatment!
Myth 4: They’re indestructible.
While porcelain crowns are very durable, capable of withstanding much of the daily wear and tear your natural teeth do, they’re not indestructible. Actions that can injure your teeth are also likely to damage your crown, causing it to chip, crack, or break. This includes trying to open packaging with your teeth, grinding your teeth at night, and crunching directly into ice cubes or very hard foods. Avoiding these habits or sleeping with a night guard to keep you from grinding your teeth will help your crown last longer—and will potentially save your other teeth from injuries as well.
Myth 5: Dental Crowns take weeks to receive.
In most cases, crowns are made in an outside lab and take several weeks and two procedures to place. However, new technology allows some people to receive crowns in a single day. CEREC porcelain crowns are milled right in our office in about an hour, allowing you to get your crown placed in a single visit. This is a convenient advantage under normal circumstances, but in light of COVID-19, it’s game-changing. Visiting our office just once to get a CEREC crown limits your exposure and helps you and your family stay safer and healthier. It also enables you to take less time off of work, which is especially important for essential workers.
CEREC crowns don’t compromise on quality to provide this increased convenience and safety, though; they’re made from the same high-quality materials as permanent, lab-created crowns and will last just as long. Since they’re created from laser scans of your teeth instead of putty molds, they will likely actually fit better. Since CEREC crowns do take a while to mill, however, we usually only use this method for people who need a single crown that isn’t a front tooth. While single-day crowns aren’t an option for everyone, feel free to ask Dr. Alhadef about this option if you need a crown.
Myth 6: They’re painful to place.
Thanks to modern anesthetics, you’ll feel mild tugging or pressure—not pain—as Dr. Alhadef places and adjusts your crown. You’ll be a little sore once the numbing sensation wears off, but it’s about as painful as an average filling; over-the-counter pain medications or ice packs will ease your discomfort.
Myth 7: Dental Crowns are just cosmetic, so I can get a large filling instead.
When you receive a large filling, your tooth becomes more brittle and is much more likely to crack or break, resulting in a painful dental emergency. If your tooth fractures too deeply for a crown to repair the damage, you may even lose your tooth. This is why crowns are necessary for teeth that have received a major filling; restoring the appearance of your tooth is also important, but the main purpose is for the crown to hold your natural tooth together and protect it from future injury.
Myth 8: Dental Crowns stain easily.
Although they’re white, dental crowns are very resistant to staining; your natural teeth will actually stain before your crown does. As a result, if you’d like to whiten your teeth at some point, we recommend you do so before you choose the color of your crown and have it placed. Future whitening treatments will not whiten your crown, so matching it to your natural teeth only to whiten them a year or two later may cause your crown to stick out and appear more yellow.
Myth 9: They protect teeth from all future damage.
Although crowns are great at protecting your teeth, they can’t protect them from everything. For example, crowns have no defense against severe gum disease, which is when bacteria makes its way underneath your gumline and begins attacking the supporting structures of your teeth. Untreated gum disease can cause you to lose teeth—whether or not they’re capped with a crown. Additionally, crowns may begin to fail or leak as they age, granting bacteria access to the vulnerable tooth beneath. You can mitigate these risks by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, as well as flossing and using mouthwash at least once a day. Gum disease and failing crowns are both difficult to notice at home, however, so it’s also vital that you visit Dr. Alhadef for regular evaluations. He can spot and treat gum disease or failing crowns early, before the issue becomes major.
Myth 10: Dental Crowns never need to be replaced.
Crowns are incredibly durable, but they will need to be replaced eventually due to wear and tear. If you care for your crown with great oral hygiene, it will last an average of 15 years or more.
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Crowns are a versatile treatment that can protect and restore teeth facing a wide variety of issues. With proper care, crowns can continue to stand up to the same daily wear and tear as your natural teeth for nearly two decades—all while granting you the confidence of a restored smile. If you’d like to find out more about how crowns might help restore aspects of your smile or how CEREC crowns may help limit your exposure to the coronavirus, feel free to call our office or schedule an appointment online.