Crowns are full coverage restorations that are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break, or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly done after root canal treatments, or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break. Keep in mind that the jaw muscles are the strongest in the human body. Teeth are subjected to tremendous pressures. Crowns ride over the weakened tooth, providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage. A broken or cracked tooth is a far more serious matter and much more difficult to treat. Crowns prevent this, as well as making for a nice smile.
During your first visit, we will determine whether you need any x-rays taken of your teeth. This helps us see the roots and surrounding bone to rule out possible infections. If there is an infection or extensive decay, your tooth will require a root canal before a crown can be placed on your tooth. This will ensure no bacteria can grow under the crown.
Once your tooth is reshaped, we take a painless impression of the tooth in order to make the crown. We may also take impressions of the teeth around where the crown will be placed to make sure your bite is not affected and your jaw aligns properly when closed. Your permanent crown is made in a lab using the impressions we have taken. While you wait for your second visit, you will be given a temporary crown to cover the tooth and keep it clean. It is important you take care of your temporary crown according to our instructions.
We recommend you do the following while you have a temporary crown:
The second visit is usually a quick one compared to the first. We start by carefully removing your temporary crown. Then we check to make sure the color and fit of the permanent crown is correct. We use our local anesthesia to make the final placement of the crown as painless as possible. The permanent crown is then cemented in place.
Once your permanent crown has been placed, it is unlikely it will have to be replaced anytime soon. Depending on how you care for your teeth, dental crowns will last between five and fifteen years. So practicing oral health is very important and will keep you from having to go through the procedure again. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly are easy ways to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Mouthwash should also be used at least once a day.