A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored) crowns are the most popular. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.
Reasons for Crowns
- Broken or fractured teeth.
- Cosmetic enhancement.
- Decayed teeth.
- Fractured fillings.
- Large fillings.
- Tooth has a root canal.
What Does Getting a Crown Involve?
A crown procedure usually requires two appointments.
During your first appointment, while the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. One or several highly accurate molds (or impressions) will be taken to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown, which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.
Depending on the case, we may use the CEREC CAD/CAM technology to fabricate your crown. If you would like to learn more about this, click here.
At your second appointment, approximately two weeks later, your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.
Please note that it is imperative for the permanent restoration to be placed in a timely manner. Temporaries are not designed to be in for extended periods and break down over time. This leads to multiple issues including recurrent decay, the need for a root canal, and/or root canals failing and needing re-treatment. If temporaries remain in too long, they become detrimental to the gum tissue, causing recession. The crown that was fabricated may no longer fit, requiring new impressions and a new restoration, resulting in an additional expense.
What to Expect After Each Appointment
You may experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity. Your gums may also be sore for several days. If anesthetic was used during your appointment, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours. Avoid chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.
General Instructions While the Temporary Crown Is in Place
- DO eat only regular soft foods (i.e. rice, meat in small pieces).
- AVOID eating sticky foods (especially gum) and hard or crunchy foods (i.e. nuts, chips, popcorn, and ice).
- IF POSSIBLE, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.
- DO brush normally.
- DO floss, but very carefully, removing the floss from the side, to prevent removal of the temporary crown.
- KEEP the temporary in place to ensure the proper fit of your final restoration. If the temporary comes off for some reason, keep it and call the office as soon as possible so we can re-cement it. If you cannot come into the office right away, you may use a small amount of Fixodent or Vaseline to hold the crown/bridge in place temporarily.
When Should You Notify the Doctor?
- If you have persistent pain.
- If the temporary crown comes off.
- If bite is uneven.
- If you have an allergic reaction to medications such as:
- Skin rash.
- Elevated temperature.
- Increased and/or erratic heart rate.
- Blurred vision.
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