AN OVERVIEW FOR DENTAL PATIENTS
A crown is a type of “cap” that encases the tooth completely. Crowns can be used as a restorative treatment or cosmetic treatment. There are different types of crowns based on the type of material(s) used and the methods used to make them. A basic crown at Dr. Kim’s office is a porcelain fused to metal crown (PFM). A PFM crown has two layers; a metal crown covered in porcelain. Another option would be covered in porcelain, but instead of metal, a gold crown can be used. The high standard crown would be either Zirconia or Bruxzir type crowns. These crowns have no metals and are typically made with just one layer.
The process of getting crowns requires two office visits. After the tooth is prepared for the crown, an impression is taken for the lab, and a temporary crown is made in-office to wear until the permanents crown is delivered.
The purpose of a crown is as follows:
A crown is a necessary step after a root canal treatment so that the tooth doesn’t break. Sometimes a tooth with a large filling requires a crown to protect the tooth from possible breakage as well. This is because there isn’t a lot of natural tooth left and without the crown’s support, you may lose the tooth or fracture it when chewing a piece of food.
Crowns can restore an already broken or fractured tooth and prevent further breakage. By placing a crown over top of a fractured or broken tooth, you are saving the tooth and preventing tooth loss. Once the tooth is lost, a dental implant or other restorative measure would need to be taken to replace it. Also, if a tooth is severely worn down, a crown is necessary. Crowns are part of a dental bridge that restores missing gaps.
(See info on bridges.)
Crowns are used to cover teeth for cosmetic purposes, such as covering discolored teeth or misshapen teeth. One of the benefits of choosing a crown for cosmetic purposes is that the crown can be color-matched to your natural teeth.
How Is the Tooth in Question Prepared for the Crown?
Before a crown can be placed on a tooth, the tooth must be prepared first. The process starts with the dentist shaping your tooth by removing the outer layer of enamel and just leaving the core or center of the tooth.
The amount of tooth that is actually removed will depend on the size of the crown and the tooth itself. Some teeth do not need to have much removed while others need to have a lot removed.
After the tooth has been shaped, an impression of the newly shaped tooth is taken and then sent off to the lab to be made.
It is important to note that a permanent crown will not be placed on your tooth the same day as it needs to be formed and made. You will receive a temporary crown, which will be put on during your visit. Once the permanent crown is made and ready to be fitted, you will return to the dentist’s office and have the temporary crown removed and the new one placed
Many patients fear that the process of shaping the tooth will hurt, but it does not. In fact, the dentist will use a local numbing anesthetic to help you feel more comfortable throughout the process, but sometimes an anesthetic is not even needed.
Will Everyone See the Crown?
No. Your crown will not be any different than your natural teeth and someone will only know you have one if you point it out to them. Since the crown is made to fit your tooth perfectly, you do not have to worry about it sticking out or being longer than the rest of your teeth.
In addition, most dentist offices are able to match the crown to the shade of your natural teeth, so the new crown will fit in perfectly.
How Long Do Crowns Last?
If you are concerned about how long a crown lasts, you do not need to be as long as you take care of it. Crowns are designed to last a lifetime with the proper care steps such as brushing and flossing. If you do not take care of your teeth, you will find that your crown may become loose, fall out, or become damaged.
During your fitting, you will be asked how the crown feels, once you agree to the fit, your dentist will use a cement to secure the crown in place. Once the cement is dry, it is adhered to you tooth and will not come off with ease.
If for some reason your crown does break or fall out, you can have it replaced by your dentist. He or she will look over the tooth and reshape it again if necessary. If your crown is broken or cracked, your dentist will take a new impression to have one made.
Should I Expect Discomfort When Talking or Chewing?
No. When you first have a crown put on, it will take some getting used to and you may notice that it is there when you do talk or eat, but that will subside in no time. Crowns are made to mimic natural teeth, so you never have to worry about them being uncomfortable or causing you pain when you perform your normal activities. In addition, crowns do not cause you to talk or chew differently than you did before.
If you need a dental crown to protect your teeth, speak with your dentist today. Tooth decay can cause pieces of your tooth to break off or you may lose your tooth entirely. A crown will fit over your tooth and provide it with the protection it needs to prevent breakage and damage.
Lastly, if you are ashamed of the way your teeth look, dental crowns may be the right cosmetic option for you.