Dental Crowns-A Great Way to Save a Tooth
There are many reasons that the dentist might decide to use a crown in your mouth. It is very simple way to save broken or weak teeth, fix discolored or misshapen teeth and/or to create a stable point to attach a bridge.
A dental crown is exactly what it sounds like, a cup-like cover that goes over or crowns a tooth. When a tooth has suffered from extensive decay, is cracking from various stresses or is broken then installing a cap or crown over it can restore it. The crown is custom fit to your tooth. Once in place, it provides the necessary support and strength to the tooth.
Even teeth that have been worn down through grinding or heavy use can be restored to a functional and attractive state. In some cases it is necessary to use a tooth as a support point, such as when attaching a dental bridge. In these cases, the dentist places a crown on the teeth at both sides of the gap where the bridge will be placed. Now the crowns can be used to provide stability and functionality to the dental bridge.
Another use is when a dental implant has been installed. In this case, it can become necessary to cover that implant with a full crown. This is a common way to replace a tooth that has been lost. With the tools of dental bridges, crowns and implants, it is possible to work wonders for a patient with missing or lost teeth–as well as ones that have suffered from severe “wear and tear.”
Two other popular uses for dental crowns are one) where an extensive filling exists and little is left of the original tooth and two) when a tooth is very discolored or misshapen and needs cosmetic repair.
Getting a Dental Crown–What is Involved?
Before having a permanent dental crown placed the dentist:
- Will make an examination of the tooth, its roots and the bone structure to ensure the need and suitability of a crown. For example, sometimes the degree of decay is such that a root canal is advised prior to the placement of a crown.
- Once it has been determined that a crown is suitable, then the dentist must numb the area, including gums, to begin preparing the tooth to receive a crown. The crown adds an additional layer to the tooth and so it is necessary to reduce the size of the tooth so that the crown may fit.
- Depending upon the type of crown being used, the dentist will remove a greater or lesser amount of the tooth surface. This is done by filing the tooth down as needed, however in some cases the dentist may need to add material in order to correct/restore holes, decay or weak areas.
- Once the tooth as been shaped, then the dentist will make an impression of the tooth. This is done with a special paste, which precisely captures the shape of the tooth for the lab. Normally, the dentist will also make impressions of the surrounding and opposing teeth to ensure a good fit and a good “bite” after the crown is installed. If applicable, the dentist will also measure the color shade of your teeth at this time, so that the lab can match it with the crown.
- The impressions are sent off to the dental lab and the crowns are fabricated. Normally this takes a couple of weeks and often the dentist make, and set into place, a temporary crown to support and protect the tooth until the permanent crown arrives.
Getting Your Permanent Crown:
This is normally a straightforward affair. Your tooth has been prepped and shaped to receive the custom-fitted crown, which makes for a quick install.
The first thing the dentist will do is to remove the temporary crown. Then it is time to check the new crown, making sure it fits well and looks correct–if a color match is important.
Assuming everything checks out then it is time to put the crown into place. There is normally some local numbing of the area, and then the crown is put onto the tooth and cemented into place. At this point you are all done and your tooth has been successfully restored!