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.
It takes two appointments to restore a tooth with a crown. During the first, any decay is removed from the tooth and it is shaped to accept the crown. Then an impression is made of the tooth for use in fabricating a crown. Between the two visits the crown is made, usually of high-strength porcelain over gold alloy, all ceramic material, or gold. During this time a temporary crown is worn. In the second visit this temporary crown is removed. Then the permanent crown is adjusted as needed and cemented into place.
Your First Visit In Detail:
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.
We use local anesthesia to make you comfortable and numb the area we will be working on. This will numb both the tooth and gum tissue around the tooth. We then go in and reshape your tooth along the chewing surface so that it will perfectly fit your new crown. If you do have decay issues, we can actually build up your tooth to make it match with your other teeth before the crown is placed on top. Otherwise, the surface is taken down to fit the type of 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:
- Avoid sticky foods, especially gum and candy, that can potentially pull your crown loose.
- Try your best to chew your food on the opposite side of your mouth during each meal.
- Stay away from hard foods, like raw carrots, as these can break the temporary crown.
- When flossing, pull your floss through your teeth and avoid an upward motion when removing the floss.
- Avoid the use of straws, since the suction that takes place within your mouth is stronger than you think.
Your Second Visit in Detail:
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.
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
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.
Different Types of Crowns:
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are used temporarily while your permanent crown is being made. This material is used for both adults and children in between visits because it is great in preventing further decay and bacteria build up. These crowns can be used on children’s primary teeth and grow out naturally when their secondary teeth come in.
Porcelain can actually be fused to the outside of metal crowns. Porcelain is popular for permanent crowns because the color can be matched to the surrounding teeth, making the crown undetectable to the naked eye. They basically end up looking like a completely normal tooth when the procedure is complete.
All-Ceramic and All-Porcelain
These crowns are not attached to metal and are both easily disguised as natural looking teeth. These crowns can be used on both front and back teeth. We usually use these crowns for patients with certain allergies to metals.
Having a crown procedure may seem like a daunting task, but it is something that will protect your teeth for a long time. We are experts when it comes to this procedure. Your dentist will go over your specific procedure step by step and let you know what your best options are. We make your exams, fillings, and crown procedures as simple and as painless as possible. You can return to work and continue your day after the procedure is complete. Call us today to schedule your check up and find out if a new crown is what you need.