What is a Crown?
A crown is a dental restoration that covers most or all of the
surface of a tooth above the gum line. A crown is cemented into
place permanently and becomes the new outer surface of the tooth.
What are Crowns made of?
There are 3 main types of crowns (also called ‘Caps”):
*Full Cast Metal Alloy Crowns (also known as
Full Gold Crowns)
*Full Ceramic Crowns (no metal)
*Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns (metal underneath and porcelain fused over to give the appearance of a natural tooth)
What Type of Crown is Best?
When choosing a crown your dentist will consider the look and function of the crown and, along with your input, decide which type of crown is best for your tooth.
Why Do I Need a Crown?
Your dentist will recommend a crown to restore a tooth to it’s normal size, shape and function or to improve the appearance of a tooth. Crowns are used to protect weak teeth from fracturing, restore severely broken or decayed teeth, restore teeth that don’t have much surface remaining to support a large filling, to cover misshaped , discolored teeth, or to cover a dental implant.
What Can I Expect When I Get a Crown:
*Most often getting a crown is a two part procedure. Some dentists will have a machine that can ‘mill’ the crown right in the office while you wait, but most dentists use a Dental Laboratory to fabricate the crown.
*The first appointment is usually about 1 hour long. ( It may be longer if you are having multiple crowns done. )
-The tooth is reduced on all sides and the top to allow room for the new crown. At this time any decay or old filling is also removed.
-The dentist will then take an impression of the prepared tooth. This is what the laboratory uses to make a model of your prepared tooth from. They can then use this model to fabricate the crown.
-An impression is also taken of the teeth in the opposite arch. This impression is used to make a model of your opposing teeth so the laboratory knows how your teeth fit together when you bite.
-A bite registration may also be taken. This involves biting down on some soft material and holding the teeth together for about 1 minute until the material is set.
-Finally, a temporary crown is made for your tooth. This is made of a plastic material that is usually tooth colored. The temporary is cemented in place with temporary cement and will cover and protect the tooth until your permanent crown is back from the laboratory. (This usually takes 2-3 weeks).
*The second appointment is usually much shorter than the first appointment.
-The temporary crown will be wiggled off gently.
-All excess temporary cement will be cleaned from your tooth.
-The dentist will try in the permanent crown and check to make sure it fits properly, is easy to floss between, and fits correctly with your bite. (some minor adjustments may be necessary at this phase)
-If the crown is tooth colored, the dentist will then allow you to look at the crown and approve the match of the shade.
-If everything looks good the dentist will cement the crown with permanent cement. At this point the tooth functions like any other tooth in your mouth.
How Do I Take Care of a Crown?
Once you have a crown it really is like any other tooth in your mouth. It is important to brush twice a day and floss once a day to remove plaque between the teeth. A tooth with a crown can still get a cavity at the point where the crown and the tooth meet. (called the ‘margin’)
Avoid chewing extremely hard items like ice or popcorn hulls, and don’t hold hard items between your teeth like nails or pencils. Also remember to see your dentist at least twice a year for regular examinations and cleanings!