What Is a Dental Crown?

A dental crown is a dental prosthetic covering a tooth or implant. Typically made of porcelain, dental crowns are great for adding much-needed strength to teeth that have suffered from decay, trauma, multiple dental fillings or root canal therapy. They can also be applied to teeth or dental implants to improve their appearance, shape and alignment.

The dental crown procedure is a common and often mostly painless procedure. . The dentist first prepares the tooth by removing part of the outer layer of the tooth. Then they take  impressions of your mouth and have the crown made.  The crown is then attached to the tooth using dental cement.

10 Common Dental Crown Problems and Solutions

After the dental crown procedure, 95 per cent of crowns last five years.. Some even last as many as 20 years without the need for replacement.

If you have a dental crown or need to get one soon, it is essential to know about the most common problems that can occur and how to resolve them. Even though dental crowns can last a long time, they do not last forever, so be sure to contact your dentist if you notice any of the following problems.

1. Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common reasons for a dental crown. However, if you do not maintain an effective oral hygiene routine, your tooth can get new decay that can damage the dental structures around or underneath the crown.

Solution: Prevention is always better than treatment, and you can prevent decay with good dental hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly are essential elements for avoiding tooth decay. Having regular dental check ups allows your dentist to review your crown and check for any early signs of decay

2. Crown Failure

Over time, or with recurrent decay or  due to an injury/trauma your crown can debond and come off your tooth. Solution: Stay away from really hard foods especially if your crown has been there for a number of years. Keep the tooth clean with good oral hygiene to minimize the risk of decay as this can weaken the crown.   If you are involved in high risk activities with a chance of dental trauma, such as contact sports, wear a mouthguard.

3. Greying Gums

Gold or metal-based crowns can make it appear as if the surrounding gum line are dulling or turning a grey colour. Teeth that have previously been root canalled can also darken with time. Any recession exposing the root surface will allow this greying to become more visible. It is this darker root or  the metallic material of the crown showing through the gum, and it is nothing to be concerned about, although it may not look aesthetically pleasing.

Solution: The appearance of discoloured gums is caused by the colour of the tooth or metallic crown. The only way to rectify this is to replace the crown with a full porcelain one or drop the crown margin down to the new gum height if recession has occured.

4. Allergic Reactions

Although extremely rare, since your dentist will enquire about allergies, patients can experience allergic reactions to crowns containing metal. Symptoms may include soreness or swelling to the gum or tissue around the crown. Solution: Choose dental crowns made from a porcelain-based material instead of metal. Porcelain crowns can be more  biocompatible and less likely to cause allergic reactions.

5. Nerve Pain

The pulp inside your teeth is packed full of sensitive nerves anda a dental crown procedure may disturb those nerves and cause pain, especially if the tooth already has deep decay or filling that has previously compromised the pulp. Pain can appear immediately after the dental crown procedure or sometimes weeks and even months after.

Solution: Your dentist will check the health of the tooth nerve prior to crowning the tooth but if nerve pain does occur and the tooth becomes infected root canal therapy can be performed through the crown and the crown monitored.  If you experience pain in a crown tooth you should get it checked immediately (book an appointment). 

6. A Cracked or Fractured Crown

Dental crowns made from porcelain and can fracture just like your natural teeth, making cracked or fractured crowns one of the more common problems people experience.

Solution: A minor crack or chip may be able to be repaired or monitored  by your dentist.. However, severe damage to the crown, such as a sizeable break, requires a full replacement.

7. Sensitive Teeth

Sensitivity is common after restorative procedures and can be normal directly after dental crown treatment. It should subside after one or two weeks. If you are still experiencing sensitivity after this time has passed, then there is a chance that the crown margins  and nerve health of the tooth need to be checked by your dentist. .

Solution: If you have lasting sensitivity, return to your dentist as they will be able to check the tooth for nerve health or exposed margins.

8. Uneven Bite 

Everyone`s bites unique and though the labs do their best to get a perfect bite, it is common for the crown to need adjusting into your unique bite after it has been cemented in place. Sometimes when you are numbed up for crown placement it is hard to get your teeth to bite together like normal as they can feel funny, you may require further adjustment of your crown after the cementation visit once the numbness wears off. 

Solution: If you notice your crown is affecting your bite, contact your dentist to check the bite and fit of your new crown. 

9. Mismatched Colours With Your Natural Teeth

Dental crowns can be made in  a range of unique colourations to match different people’s teeth, and having one that doesn’t match the colour of the rest of your teeth can look out of place.

Solution: Ensure that your dentist matches the crown’s colour with your natural tooth colour and checks it prior to cementing the crown  into your mouth. If the colour is not am exact match talk to your dentist as the crown can be removed and re-done using a different colour. .

10. Excessive Dental Wear

When the dentist inserts your crown, they will have to adjust its surface to match up to the opposing teeth. Dental crowns are very strong and can  cause wear on the opposing teeth.

Solution: If you feel like your crown is abrasive aor  is causing excessive wear, then see your dentist so they can adjust the crown’s surface to help prevent additional wear.

Summary

Dental crowns are prosthetics cemented over a tooth or dental implant to provide additional strength or improve a tooth’s shape, alignment or appearance. While the vast majority of dental crowns can last between five to 15 years, they do not last forever. Therefore, you must raise any concerns about your crowns with your dentist if you experience any of the above symptoms.

If you have any queries about your dental health and want to book an appointment with one of our team members, you can contact us by clicking here. If you are interested in staying up to date with the latest dental information, follow our Beaches Dental Mona Vale team on Facebook and Instagram.

Related: Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Chipped or Cracked Tooth