What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a type of dental restoration that acts like a cap and covers a tooth in order to restore its shape, size and colour.
Dental crowns can help to improve the strength, function, and appearance of a damaged or decayed tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted and replaced.
Additionally, dental crowns can be used for cosmetic reasons, such as to cover an uneven or discoloured tooth and improve the overall appearance of your smile.
Crowns are quite strong due to the fact that they are often made of porcelain, a material that protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure.
The Dental Crown Procedure
To place a dental crown generally requires at least two appointments at your dental office. Once your dentist determines you need a crown, here's what you can expect at each appointment.
Your First Dental Crown Appointment
If you and your dentist have determined that a dental crown will be ideal for your situation, the first step will be for your dentist to examine your teeth and mouth.
To begin preparing for your dental crown, your dentist will file down and remove part of the outer layer of the tooth. Next, they will take an impression of the trimmed tooth and the surrounding teeth, and place a temporary crown over the tooth to protect it. The temporary crown is placed using temporary cement so that it can come off easily when the permanent crown is ready.
Your dental office will send your unique tooth impression to a dental laboratory to make your permanent crown. The process of creating your permanent dental crown can take up to a few weeks so you should expect to live with the temporary crown until then.
Using your impression, the laboratory technician is able to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements and sculpt a crown just for you. Your dentist will also use a shade guide in order to determine the shade of your natural teeth in order to help the technician make a crown that will match the colour of the rest of your teeth.
Your Second Dental Crown Appointment
Once the crown is ready, you’ll return to your dental office for the second appointment. During this visit, your temporary crown that you have had for the past few weeks will be removed and your dentist will put the permanent dental crown in place.
The permanent crown is first placed on the tooth and inspected for acceptable fit, bite and smooth margins. After any necessary adjustments have been made, the crown is cemented with permanent cement or dental glue.
How To Properly Care For Dental Crowns
With the proper care, dental crowns can last on average from 10 to 20 years. They are still subject to damage, so it is important to take care in brushing and flossing around crowned teeth to prevent them from needing to be replaced too soon.