Dental Crown procedure
Dental crowns are a tooth-shaped cap which is placed on top of a tooth. They are used to restore the shape, size, strength, and improve the overall appearance of the teeth. Once the crown is cemented into place, it fully covers the visible portion of the tooth found above the gum line.
Dental crowns are often used in the following scenarios:
- Cover and support teeth which contain a large filling
- Cover dental implants
- Cover misshapen or discolored teeth
- Make cosmetic modifications
- Protect weak teeth or teeth which are decayed, helps to prevent the tooth from breaking
- Restore broken teeth or a severely worn down tooth
- Secure a dental bridge
Preparing the Tooth for a Crown
When a tooth is prepared for a crown, two visits to the dentist are typically required. The first step of the process includes an examination and preparing the tooth. The second visit includes the placement of the permanent crown.
Tooth Examination and Preparation
During the first visit for a crown, the dentist often takes X-rays to assess the surrounding bone and the roots of tooth receiving the crown. In the event the tooth has substantial decay, if there is a risk of infection, or possible injury to the pulp of the tooth, a root canal treatment is often performed.
Prior to the creation of the crown, the dentist numbs the affected tooth and the gum tissue surrounding the tooth. The tooth which is receiving the crown is then filed down on the chewing surface and the sides in order to prepare it for the crown. The amount of tooth removed during this step is dependent on the type of crown which is being used. In cases where a large amount of the tooth surface is missing, often from decay or damage, the dentist uses a filling material to add to the tooth and adequately support the crown.
Once the tooth is reshaped, the dentist will use a form of paste or putty to obtain an impression of the tooth which is receiving the crown. The impressions can also be obtained using a digital scanner. Impressions of the teeth which surround the affected tooth are also taken to ensure the crown does not impact the bite.
The impressions or digital scans are then sent to a dental lab, where the crown is manufactured. The crown is typically ready in about two to three weeks. When the crown is created from porcelain, the dentist is able to select the shade which most closely matches the existing natural teeth. During the initial visit, the dentist creates a temporary crown which is used to cover and protect the prepared tooth until the permanent crown is ready. A temporary crown is typically made out of acrylic and secured using a cement.
Permanent Dental Crown
During the second visit for a crown, the dentist removes the temporary crown and evaluates the fit and color of the newly created permanent crown. A local anesthetic is then used to numb the tooth area and the new permanent crown is securely cemented into place.
Dental crowns typically last for about five to 15 years. The life expectancy for a crown is dependent on various factors such as how much the crown is used, the location of the crown, oral hygiene, and personal habits such as grinding the teeth or chewing ice, which can damage the crown.