While real teeth can last a lifetime, they can chip, decay, break, discolor, and fall out due. Dental trauma, teeth grinding, and bacterial attacks are common reasons behind tooth damage. When a tooth loses its size, shape, and strength, it can make chewing painful and difficult. It can affect your smile and expose you to further dental problems.
A dental crown is an excellent way to repair tooth damage and improve your tooth’s strength, bite function, and aesthetics. Keep reading to learn more about dental crowns and what you can expect during the procedure.
A tooth crown is a tooth-shaped dental cap fixed over a damaged tooth to improve its size, shape, color, and strength. Also, a dental crown can support a traditional bridge and dental implants. A crown is often ideal for repairing moderate to severe tooth damage that you can’t treat with simpler procedures like dental veneers, inlays and onlays, or fillings.
A crown can contain various materials, including metal, porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metals, composite resin, zirconia, and gold. Your dentist can recommend a dental crown to:
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Getting a crown typically takes about two dental appointments.
Below is what to expect on your first appointment:
Since a crown is placed over the natural teeth, the dentist has to trim a small portion of the tooth’s enamel to allow the crown to fit perfectly without looking or feeling bulky or uncomfortable. It is also necessary to reshape the tooth to improve the stability and retention of the crown. Since the procedure can cause discomfort or sensitivity, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth to keep you comfortable.
Next, the dentist will trim away a specific amount of the tooth’s enamel. If your tooth is infected, the dentist will remove the infected materials to prevent further damage once the crown is placed. The dentist can also rebuild the tooth with a filling material if it has lost a significant part of its structure. It restores the tooth’s strength and the proper dimensions necessary to support a crown sufficiently.
Once the dentist has prepared the tooth, they will make dental impressions of the prepared tooth using a paste or putty-like material. The impressions contain a copy of the shaped tooth and surrounding teeth and gums. These impressions, shade of your natural teeth, and other records are sent to a dental lab and used to fabricate your crown. Some dentists take optical impressions using a wind-like digital camera. In this case, impression paste isn’t necessary.
If your dentist has the technology to make same-day CEREC crowns, you won’t need a temporary crown. The dentist will create and fit the crown at the same appointment. If your crown is made at a dental lab, you’ll get a temporary crown until the customized crown is ready. The temporary crown protects your tooth from bacterial infections and fractures.
The crown contains less durable materials like composite resin. It’s also cemented using temporary cement for easy removal. Excellent oral hygiene and habits are necessary to care for your temporary crown until the permanent crown is ready. Without proper care, the crown can easily fall off, loosen, or break, exposing the underlying tooth to infections and damage and compromising your treatment.
Once the permanent crown is ready, you’ll go for the second appointment. Here is what to expect:
The dentist may begin by numbing the tooth to prevent discomfort when removing the temporary crown. Then, they will remove the temporary crown and clean off any cement and debris around the tooth.
Before cementing the permanent crown, the dentist will test its fit and appearance to ensure all is as expected. They will make any adjustments if necessary.
If you and your dentist are satisfied with the crown, the dentist will fit the crown permanently. They can use strong dental cement or screws.