Modern dental crowns are a relatively inexpensive, esthetic, and almost universal way of teeth restoration. They not only help to restore chewing and speech functions but also improve the smile.
A tooth is restored with a crown when it is badly damaged, devitalized, or broken as a result of trauma. The crown covers and protects the remaining tooth structure. Tooth crowns are also used to make the dental bridge as well as holding the bridges in place.
Today, the procedure of placing a crown on a tooth can be performed in many dental clinics and healthcare facilities in Singapore1. In the following lines, you will find what is teeth crowning and are dental crowns necessary, what are the different types of crowns, their pros and cons as well as how much dental crown cost in Singapore. We hope this information will be useful for you!
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a full-coverage dental restoration (it is like a cap for the tooth) that can be made out of multiple substances. It is normally placed on the tooth by using dental cement. The crown aims to restore the shape, function, and aesthetics of the tooth. The placement of each crown requires prior preparation of the tooth and the dentist's work goes through several stages that we will look further in this article.
Crowns are made in specialized medical and technical laboratories by dental technicians. They are placed on evenly sharpened teeth on all sides. The depth of filing is determined on the basis of certain rules, but so that the loss of tooth tissue is minimized, and the shaped stump (the so-called tooth stump) has optimal characteristics for mechanical retention of the crown on itself. After forming the base, an impression is taken with silicone material, which is transferred to a dental laboratory. A plaster model is cast on it, through which the dental technician makes crowns.
When you need a dental crown?
You may need a dental crown if you have any of the following problems:
- fracture (breakage) of the tooth;
- erasing the tooth;
- reducing the strength of the tooth with a large filling;
- returning the tooth to the dentition;
- changing the shape and colour of the tooth.
If you have one or more missing teeth you will need treatment with dental bridges which are also made of crowns. One of the most common causes of crowning teeth is previous tooth decay and its filling that covers a large part of the tooth. After its thorough cleaning, it is observed that a large part of the tooth surface is removed and the tooth becomes susceptible to breakage. This is an indication that it should be prepared for a crown. Any tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment, including root canal therapy, cleaning, and filling, is also subject to crowning. The main reason for it is the fact that any non-vital tooth loses stability, is fragile, and can easily fracture.
Of course, if a tooth has already broken, it can also be restored with a crown. Some people have various deformations of the masticatory apparatus, characterized by the abrasion of the masticatory surface of the teeth and their incorrect placement in the dentition. Crowns are a solution that quickly restores the proper function of the masticatory apparatus. The placement of dental crowns also has its aesthetic role as they can be used to correct the shape or to correct the tooth colour.
What types of dental crowns are there?
There are different types of dental crowns. Depending on the material of construction they can be metal crowns, ceramic crowns, porcelain crowns, zirconia crowns, or a combination of materials.
Ceramic vs. metal crown
Metal crowns are made of palladium alloy, gold alloy, or a base metal alloy. Some of their benefits are:
- high strength;
- long life;
- they do not cause erasure of opposite teeth or fillings.
One of their cons is that they look esthetically unpleasant as they have a metallic colour and lustre. That is why they are placed only on the back teeth, which are out of sight. Another disadvantage of metal crowns is that some people may have allergies to metal.
Ceramic crowns are made of a ceramic material2 such as porcelain. Some of their pros include:
- They have a lifelike shape and transparent that makes the crowns more natural-looking.
- The aesthetics surrounding the gumline remain unaffected by the crowns because they lack any metal alloys
- These crowns are strong and long-lasting. It is less likely to break compared to other types.
It is the most modern material for making dental crowns. Zirconia is a very strong material that is biocompatible with the tissues of the human body and does not cause allergies3. Zirconia crowns have many advantages:
- They look just as natural and beautiful, as well as just as light and comfortable.
- The colour of the denture coincides perfectly with the shade of the natural teeth enamel.
- As the material is characterized by increased hardness and strength, zirconia crowns are placed not only on the front teeth, but also on the teeth with masticatory function, and possibly on a dental implant.
Porcelain fused to metal crowns
Porcelain fused to metal is a very strong type of crown. What makes it so strong is it's base, which is made from metal.. Its disadvantage is that in order for this type of crown to be placed, 1.5mm of the tooth has to be removed to make room for both metal and porcelain layers. Because of that itt also often grows dark and the metal pieces tend to start showing if there is a decline in the gum line. This means that you're going to have rusty pieces of metal poking out of the white crown near the gum, and it looks horrible. Zirconia crown can be a better option if you are looking for an esthetically pleasing crown.
Dental crown process
A dental crown typically takes two visits to the dentist's office.
First visit - preparation. During this visit, the dentist takes an X-ray of the problem area and treats any problem on the tooth such as root canal treatment and dental filling. Once the examination is done he/she starts preparing the tooth for crowning:
- The first thing that the dentist does is to numb the area by placing a little topical anaesthetic;
- After that, the dentist starts preparing the tooth by drilling around it until achieving the desired shape;
- The next step is taking an impression - some dentist packs rejection retraction cord to push the gums down in order to get a nice mould. The results are sent to the laboratories where the crowns are made;
- The dentist may place a temporary crown that will protect the tooth until the second visit.
Second visit - the insert of the crown. The dentist removes the temporary crown and places the new permanent crown.
How are dental crowns made?
- The dentist takes an impression of the teeth to make a replica of the mouth;
- Blue wax is used to hand sculpt the new crown;
- Plaster encases the wax mould and is left to set;
- Then the set is placed into a machine that dissolves the wax and only leaves the plaster;
- The plaster case is moved to a new machine where a piece of ceramic is pushed into the shape of the crown;
- Blasters are used to revealing the crown;
- The crown is then stained by hand and glazed.
- After these procedures, the crown is ready for the patient.
What is a temporary dental crown?
When your tooth needs to be crowned, dentists need to protect it while the permanent crown is being made and while it is being brought to the dental office. In such cases, a temporary crown4 is used.
Making a permanent crown can sometimes take two to three weeks. Although the colour of the temporary crown does not match that of the natural tooth, thanks to it, patients can continue to eat and speak normally during this intermediate period.
Dentists place temporary crowns on the first of the two appointments before placing permanent dentures. It may not be exactly the right size, it also may have a different colour and differs significantly from other teeth. However, this is not a problem, because its main purpose is to create comfort and to keep the tooth healthy.
When do dental crowns need replacement?
Practice shows that the "life" of a crown is about 10 -30 years, regardless of the material from which it is made. But the question is can dental crowns be replaced? Yes and here are some of the situations when you need to replace the old crown with a new :
- If you feel pain or swelling around the tooth;
- If you have receding gum line;
- If the old crown is discoloured;
- If the old crown is broken.
What to do if dental crown fell out?
Losing a filling or crown can be due to different reasons. It is usually not a situation that requires emergency dental help. However, you should contact your dentist to book an appointment at the earliest possible date. After that, you should remove the crown from your mouth and rinse your mouth, and crown. Try to protect your tooth and crown (if it is not broken) until your appointment. Don't try to put the crown back on yourself.
To avoid falling you need to take care of your dental crown just as you take care of your natural teeth.
Dental crown vs. veneer
One of the most common questions among the patients is what is the difference between dental crowns and veneers? When it comes to repairing a decayed or unhealthy tooth, cosmetic dentistry offers several options. Two of the most popular of them are crowns and dental veneers. Both methods can be used to correct many types of cosmetic and common dental problems, including teeth spacing, crooked teeth, discolouration of fillings, broken or pointed teeth, and so on. Before choosing between crowns or veneers, it is good to learn how they work and consider the pros and cons of dental crowns and veneers.
What are the differences between crowns and dental veneers? Crowns and veneers are surface components that change the structure and appearance of an existing natural tooth. Both options require treatment of the tooth on which they will be placed. Crowns are modified in such a way that perfectly mimics the natural surface of the tooth. The crowns normally cover the entire tooth.
A veneer is a thin shell made of porcelain, which is placed only on the visible front and side of the tooth. The preparation for the veneers is small and the natural tooth is not completely trimmed. They are a good dental crown alternative.
When properly designed and placed, both crowns and veneers offer complete coverage of the visible areas of the teeth, so their value is approximately equal. But because crowns restore chewing function, they are used more often in general dentistry.
What do patients say? Both crowns and dental veneers create a beneficial result for people who need a big change. Reviewing online patient feedback statistics, most reported that they were extremely pleased to focus on crowns as the most appropriate for them. This is a personal choice of each patient, but it is good to hear what advice the dentist will give you.
How much is the cost of a dental crown in Singapore?
The range of tooth crown price is quite big. The tooth cap cost can start around $700 on the cheaper side and be as much as $3000 on the more expensive side. This such a big range is because the cost depends on a variety of factors - where the tooth is located, how big it is, its condition, and the type of material from which the crown is made of. Here is a list of different types of dental crowns and prices in Singapore:
- metal crown cost - $500 - $1000;
- dental crown zirconia cost - $1000 - $2000;
- composite crown cost - $500 - $1000;
- wisdom tooth extraction cost Singapore - $100 - $200.
Dental crown replacement cost may vary depending on what needs to be done on the tooth.
Does dental insurance cover crowns?
If the crowns are medically necessary, dental insurance will cover them. The coverage is usually 50% of the cost of the procedure.
Other frequently asked questions
Dental implant or crown: Which is better?
Normally, implants are considered a better choice. However, they are more expensive compared to crowns. The other thing you need to keep in mind about the implant is that it requires surgery.
Are metal dental crowns safe for MRI machines?
Because MRI uses a powerful magnet it can interact with magnetic metals such as iron and nickel and alloys like stainless steel. This means that the material of your crown matters. Some crowns might be made with stainless steel and so should be never be placed inside an MRI machine.
What is the best dental crown for front teeth?
A ceramic crown can be a really good choice when it comes to the front teeth as it will provide a natural colour match.