Dental Crowns: What are their purpose?
A dental crown, also known as a cap, is a dental restoration that covers (or 'caps') a tooth to restore its shape, size and colour.
Rather than extracting teeth in need of great repair, dentists now more commonly perform restorative services which need to be sealed. Dental crowns can perform the task of sealing while also restoring the appearance and function of your tooth.
Additionally, dental crowns can be used for cosmetic reasons, such as to cover an uneven or discoloured tooth and alter 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.
What To Expect From the Dental Crown Procedure
You will typically need to attend two visits in order to complete your new dental crown process. Once your dentist determines you need a crown, here's what you can expect at each appointment.
Your Initial Visit
The initial visit will begin with a complete examination and your dentist will begin preparing the tooth for the crown.
To prepare the tooth, 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 dentist will send off your impressions to allow the lab to create your new restoration. This can take some time.
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 be sure to determine the shade of your teeth to help the technician make a crown that will match the colour of the rest of your teeth.
Your Second Visit
Once your dentist receives the completed crown you will then return for your second visit. During this visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and place the permanent crown on your tooth.
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 should you care for your new dental crown?
As with most things, the better you care for your new crown, the longer it will last. With the proper care, you can expect your dental crown to last for upwards of 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.