A Closer Look At Advantages And Disadvantages Of Dental Crowns

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Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps placed over damaged teeth to restore their shape, size, and strength. With proper oral hygiene, crowns can last over 30 years. While they have several advantages, some disadvantages and dangers of dental crowns need consideration too.

So, in this article, we will be talking about the advantages and disadvantages of dental crowns. We will also take a look at the various alternatives to dental crowns in this article. So, let's go ahead without further ado.

What is a Dental Crown?

Disadvantages Of Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that fully covers and encases a damaged tooth down to the gum line to restore its form, function, and aesthetics. This prosthetic device typically made of ceramic, porcelain fused to metal alloys, or composite resin materials creates a strong, natural-looking restoration that gains retention by permanently cementing onto prepared natural tooth structure.

Crowns protect compromised teeth from future breakage and can greatly extend the lifespan of teeth previously ravaged by large cavities, fractures, root canals, chips, discoloration, or wear. They aim to halt damage while recapturing a beautiful smile.

Now, that we have learned about dental crowns, let's take a look at both the advantages and disadvantages of dental crowns.

Advantages of Dental Crowns

Let’s begin by going through the various advantages of dental crowns.

Restore damaged tooth structure and appearance

Dental crowns can rebuild severely compromised teeth to the proper shape, function, and look. The custom-designed cap envelops the entire visible portion down to the gum line.

Protect teeth at high risk of fracture

Crowns reinforce intrinsically weakened tooth structures prone to cracking or splitting by acting like a protective shell against future trauma.

Improve chewing capacity

Enhanced crown contouring and occlusion with opposing teeth permit effective biting and chewing compared to uneven worn enamel.

Prevent recurring decay

Properly fitted crowns form an impenetrable seal on vulnerable teeth, blocking exterior bacteria, sugar, and acids from inflaming the inner pulp again. 

Support dental bridges

Crowns anchoring each end of a bridge provide durable abutment teeth to hold an interim pontic replacement tooth for a gap from one or more missing teeth.

Vastly delay extraction 

Rather than sacrifice a battered tooth with advanced deterioration, a crown restoration drastically delays and often eliminates eventual extraction.

Disadvantages of Dental Crowns

Here is a subtopic on the disadvantages of dental crowns with each disadvantage listed in a bullet point and a description for each:

Costs Much More Than Fillings

Dental crowns are expensive, usually $800 - $3,000 out-of-pocket per crown. The laboratory work, materials, tooth impressions, anesthesia, temporary crown, dentist visits, and possible specialist referrals add up.

Healthy Tooth Gets Cut Down 

The natural tooth needs filing away to properly fit and cement the crown. Removing the protective enamel and dentin weakens what remains forever.

Temporary Crown Doesn't Function Well 

The short-term crown is worn for 1-2 weeks waiting on the permanent one typically falls out easily, stains, and makes eating uncomfortable. It doesn't fit or look natural.

Could Cause Gum Inflammation

If excess cement gets left under the gums after cementing the final crown, it can trap bacteria. This is one of the most noticeable disadvantages of dental crowns. This irritation makes gums swollen, red, painful, and hard to floss around.

Higher Lifelong Tooth Fracture Risk 

Removing the outer layers of a healthy tooth for the crown leaves inner structures more vulnerable to cracks and nerve damage from hot/cold sensitivity or injury impact. This can require more expensive treatment later like root canals or extractions.

These are some of the disadvantages of dental crowns one should take into consideration before investing in a dental crown.

Alternatives to Dental Crowns

Now, let's take a look at the various alternatives to dental crowns one can take a look at.

Higher Infection Risk at Gum Line

Poor marginal fit of the crown edge against the gums allows bacteria growth causing gum infection. Plaque accumulation under crowns placed too close to the gum can cause rapid periodontal disease.

Chipping Porcelain Crowns

Long-term grinding or clenching may lead to porcelain fracture exposing the weaker metal foundation underneath. Porcelain corners are more prone to cracking - requiring crown replacement.

Weakening of Supporting Teeth

Preparing adjacent teeth to act as bridge supports for the crowns risks future crown fracture or loosening. Such bridge abutments require special care to prevent damage.

Higher Cost

Well-crafted crowns with up to two office visits, dental lab expenses, and luting cement cost over $1000 - $2500 out of pocket. Complex cases or additional office visits may cost more. Dental insurance seldom covers the entire amount.

Also Read:- Beware The 10 Reasons Not To Get Dental Implants

End Results

When properly designed and cared for, dental crowns offer an effective long-term restoration of severely damaged or decayed teeth. Advantages like aesthetics, protection, and stabilization of vulnerabilities justify the higher cost, effort, and tooth reduction required. However, traditional crowns still have limitations.

Alternatives to full coverage crowns allow for more conservative treatment of moderate defects. Composite restorations, onlays, or veneers help retain healthy natural teeth in some cases. But these options carry disadvantages too regarding longevity, fracture-resistance, and capability.

A thoughtful oral examination and risk versus benefit discussion with your dentist can determine if a dental crown is the right choice. Be sure to address any personal risk factors like grinding, gum disease, or implant stability. This could shorten the projected crown lifespan or increase complications. Committing to ongoing hygiene visits ensures early detection of any issues.

Weighing up both the advantages and disadvantages of dental crowns for your specific situation leads to the optimal treatment decision. What restoration makes the most sense long-term for your needs, finances, and oral health?

References

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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