While getting a dental crown isn’t going to make you a king or queen, it might very well save a compromised tooth for years to come. But what, exactly, is a dental crown? Even though capping a tooth with a dental crown represents one of the more common tooth restoration procedures, many people don’t understand exactly what a crown is, or what it is used for. Read on as the dental professionals at Naples, Florida-based Gulfside Dental describe the purpose, structure, and procedure of crowns.
So What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is essentially a prosthetic cap that partially or completely covers the outside of the tooth, in order to restore its shape, size, and strength, and, in some cases, improve its appearance. Crowns can be made out of various metals, porcelain, other ceramic material, or a combination of metal and porcelain. Additionally, temporary crowns made of resin or acrylic material are also made to protect the tooth while the permanent crown is being made.
A dental crown may be needed for any number of reasons, including:
- Cover and support large fillings that have weakened the overall tooth
- Restore broken teeth
- Restoration after root canal
- Add support to cracked teeth
- Repair broken cusps
- Restore teeth worn down by grinding or other erosion
- Cosmetically restore heavily stained teeth
- Cover dental implants
- Add structure for a dental bridge
What to Expect When Getting a Dental Crown
In most cases fitting a new crown will necessitate the need for at least two dental visits. During the first visit, the dentist will take X-rays and conduct any prep work such as a root canal and/or filling work. Impressions will be made of the tooth and overall bite, and, if getting a porcelain or ceramic crown, the dentist will determine the appropriate color shading.
The tooth will be filed down along the chewing surfaces and top to the extent needed to receive the crown. A temporary crown will be attached with a temporary cement, and the impressions and scans will be sent to the lab which will craft the permanent crown. Your dentist will give you instructions for dental care designed to ensure the integrity of the temporary crown while you wait for the lab to construct the permanent crown.
Once the new crown is ready, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and check the fit, positioning, and color of the permanent crown. If acceptable, the new crown is then permanently cemented in place.
Living With Your New Dental Crown
Your new crown should last from between eight to 15 years, but sometimes they can last much longer. They do not require any special care beyond the standard oral care practices you should already be performing for your natural teeth, such as regular brushing and flossing and regularly scheduled dental visits. Always remember, underneath a crown is still your natural tooth, which is still subject to cavities and periodontal disease. It is imperative that you take care of your teeth, including crowns, to avoid decay and other issues down the road.
If you notice any problems with your crown, you should notify your dentist immediately. You may experience some sensitivity to heat or cold with the crowned tooth, but this is generally only initially and can be resolved in most cases with sensitivity toothpaste. If pain or sensitivity occurs when biting down, contact your dentist, who should be easily able to correct the problem. Also contact your dentist if the crown becomes loose, falls out, or chips.
Gulfside Dental has been helping people in southwest Florida maintain their oral health for more than 30 years, and has extensive experience with the fitting of dental crowns, as well as the full range of dental care services. Learn how Gulfside Dental can help you with all of your functional and cosmetic oral health needs by contacting our office today at (239) 774-3017, or by scheduling an appointment via our online appointment portal.