A crown is a cover or “cap” your dentist can put over a tooth. A crown restores a damaged or missing tooth to its normal shape, size and function. A crown can protect the tooth or improve the way it looks. Your dentist may recommend a crown to:
- Support a tooth that has a large filling when there isn’t enough natural tooth structure remaining.
- Attach a bridge to replace missing teeth.
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing.
- Restore a fractured tooth.
- Cover a poorly shaped or discolored tooth.
- Cover a dental implant.
Types of Dental Crowns
Dental labs make crowns from several types of materials. They use metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal or composite resin. The material often is tooth-colored to blend in with your natural teeth. You want your crown to look natural and fit comfortably in your mouth. To decide which material to use for your crown, you and your dentist will consider many factors, such as:
- The tooth’s location and function.
- The position of the gum tissue.
- The amount of tooth that shows when you smile.
- The color or shade of the surrounding teeth.
Steps of Placing a Crown
It usually takes two dental visits to complete the treatment. When we place a crown over a natural tooth, several steps are involved:
- Your dentist prepares the tooth by removing the outer portion, including any decay, to fit the crown.
- If additional tooth structure is needed to support the crown, your dentist may build up the core of the tooth.
- We make an impression an impression of the tooth to create an exact model of your tooth. The impression can be made by digitally scanning the tooth or taking a mold impression. For more information on digital scanning please see our blog on Prime Scan.
- To protect your tooth while the lab is making your permanent crown, your dentist will place a temporary crown over your tooth.
Making the permanent crown usually takes two weeks. While you have a temporary crown, the tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold; avoid chewing gum and eating sticky foods during this time.
When the permanent crown is ready, your dentist places it in your mouth and makes the necessary adjustments. When you and your dentist are happy with how it looks and feels, your dentist cements the crown into place.
Caring for Your Crown
Crowns can break, and the tooth under the crown can still get cavities. To prevent cavities or damage to your crown:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth every day. Look for oral care products that have the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, which tells you they meet ADA standards for safety and effectiveness.
- Avoid chewing hard foods, ice, or other hard objects, such as pens and pencils, especially if you have tooth-colored crowns.
- Be sure to see your dentist for regular exams and professional teeth cleanings.
If you think you need a crown or have any questions about your teeth, please contact us. We will be glad to get you scheduled.
Drs. Tyler Christensen and Ashley Anderson
Christensen Dental, Henderson, NV