Your dentist may recommend placing a crown on one of your teeth. This is most often done because there is not enough tooth remaining to hold a filling or the tooth has been weakened by previous fillings, cracks etc. that put the tooth at risk of fracture which may render the tooth un-restorable and require an extraction. Crowns are made of gold or metal alloys, all porcelain or porcelain gold combinations. There are pros and cons with each choice of material and your dentist can review them with you and give you his/her recommendations.
The “fit” of a crown is very important for the longevity as well as the “comfort” and esthetics of the crown. In most cases, patients won’t be able to discern just how well a crown fits and one has to trust their dentists’ judgment, but the following lists a few things that may give you some indication.
The Right Dental Crown
To make, fit and insert an ideal dental crown, it takes a combination of material science, clinical and technical skill, physics, mechanics and engineering, teeth, tissue health, physiology and biocompatibility, and art. If any of these are not ideal then the longevity or success of a crown may be compromised. Fortunately, dentistry has had over 100 years of scientific studies, experience, and history of crowns that problems are minimized and most crowns will give many years of use.
As mentioned above, it can be very difficult to tell if your crown is “top notch” however if you experience any of the following issues there may be some things that need to be remedied with your crown:
#1: Your Crown Is Loose Or Keeps Falling Off
An ideal crown will have adequate length, size and shape of the tooth underneath. The fit of the crown to the tooth will provide a firm and solid seating for the crown itself. The crown will typically feel “solid” when fully seated and will not come off easily once it is cemented. If you are having issues with crowns falling off it could be due to a lack of tooth structure, the shape of the tooth, or fit of the crown.
Almost all crowns are cemented or bonded, and after many years (5-20+years) the cement can wash out and cause the crowns to fall off. Under these circumstances, the fit of the crown is generally not a problem. And unless some of the underlying teeth have broken or become damaged, you probably will be able to have the same crown re-cemented.
#2: Your Bite Doesn’t Feel Right
A proper bite feels natural and comfortable, but what does that really mean? Essentially you should have solid contact with your teeth on both sides of your back teeth, with some (although possibly lighter) contact on the front teeth. A crown should not affect the contact you have with your other teeth unless there has been a specific purpose with that in mind. Therefore, when you chew it should feel like it was always there, it should be comfortable and not give you any discomfort to chewing. Keep in mind that sometimes a new crown can feel “different” much like a new pair of shoes, however, those feelings are usually minor and go away within a matter of days or one week.
#3: There Are Gaps
Gaps between your crown and adjacent teeth can lead to nuisance problems like trapped food which can lead to tooth decay, gum problems and even bad breath. A poorly fitted crown won’t fit tight enough to close the contacts between teeth. Ideally, this space should be such that floss will pass with some resistance but not so tight that the floss keeps breaking or shredding. If you notice any gap irregularities, go to your dentist to get the situation investigated and resolved.
What Do You Do If You Notice A Bad Fit?
If any of these issues arise with a brand new crown, most likely your dentist will notice it and make corrective steps or adjustments before you are even aware. However, if you are having any issues with a new crown make sure to go back and notify your dentist of the issues and concerns.
If this is a problem that develops on a crown that has otherwise been good for many years, it could be that something has broken, shifted or changed. Make sure to see a dentist soon to see if the problem can be fixed, and to prevent any further problems in the area. If your crown has come off take the crown with you as it may just be a simple matter of cleaning the crown and re-cementing it.
Come On In
At VCCID we want your crowns to feel completely natural in your mouth. If you think you might need your crowns adjusted, contact us, or comment below and we will do our best to answer you promptly!