A dental crown is a cap that completely fits over the visible part of the tooth. They can be made from porcelain, ceramics, resin or metal. Metal crowns are the longest-wearing and don’t easily chip or crack, but they are very obvious. They are normally used as temporary crowns or for out-of-sight molars.
Reasons for a Crown
- To hold together a cracked tooth
- To protect a weak or decayed tooth
- To restore a broken tooth or one that is severely discoloured
- As an anchor for a dental bridge
- To cover a dental implant
- For cosmetic purposes
The procedure is normally divided between two consultations. The first is to prepare the tooth to accept the crown and the second is to affix the permanent crown.
During the first visit the cosmetic dentist will carefully examine the tooth that is going to receive the crown. He might even take x-rays of the tooth and surrounding area to make sure that there is no decay, and that there is no damage to the jaw that holds the tooth to be crowned. If decay is present, your dentist will more than likely first do a root canal treatment to strengthen the root of the prospective tooth. If the tooth is decayed, or too thin because of too much filling, the dentist will first build up the tooth to the correct proportions.
After administering anaesthetic, the dentist will start to shape the tooth by filing it to the correct shape to accept the crown. Once that is completed, the dentist will take an impression of the tooth and surrounding area. The dental lab will use this impression as a guide to determine the shape of your existing teeth. This is to ensure that the crown matches the surrounding teeth as closely as possible. If porcelain is being used for the crown, the dentist will also make notes to assist the lab in matching the colour of your teeth.
Some dental practises use digital scanning to make an impression for the lab. Whichever method is used, the results will be sent to the lab and you normally have to wait 2 to 3 weeks for the crown to be manufactured. In the meantime, the dentist will attach a temporary crown to protect the prepared tooth. The temporary crown is normally made of acrylic, but metal alloy temporary crowns are also used.
The Second Visit
After about a month, the permanent crown will be ready. During this visit, the temporary crown is easily removed and the area is cleaned and cleared of any debris. The permanent crown is then attached to the prepared tooth using an extremely powerful adhesive. With proper care, the permanent crown will last for a long time.
What to Expect After the Procedure?
Once the anaesthetic wears off there might be a bit of sensitivity in the tooth. This will occur when you drink or eat hot and cold food and beverages and when you bite down on the new crown. This will soon fade. The new crown will very soon feel like an integral part of your mouth.
Crowns are a relatively cost effective way of solving a number of dental problems. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed earlier, consult your dentist. He will be able to tell you immediately if you are eligible for a crown procedure.