We put our teeth through a lot over our lifetime, and they can become damaged from decay, injury, or even losing their shape. Dental crowns help give our teeth some extra strength to continue chewing and help prevent further damage. People tend to wonder how a dental crown works – it’s not like a filling, and no one would want to cover up a cavity when it needs to be fixed. What are they even for?
Let’s go over how a dental crown works, what to expect when getting one placed on your tooth, and some tips once the crown has been added.
What is a Dental Crown?
Essentially, a dental crown is a cap that is placed over a damaged tooth. It helps to protect and cover, as well as restore the shape of the tooth if a filling doesn’t solve the issue. They’re typically made out of metal, resin, porcelain, or ceramic and strengthen the tooth as well as help it regain its appearance. Think of it as a form-fitting hat for your teeth!
Why Would I Need a Dental Crown?
There are several reasons why someone would need to have a dental crown, and even children may require one if they have a tooth that cannot support a filling. Some reasons why an adult would need one include:
- Protecting a tooth from decay, breaking, or cracking
- Restoring a tooth that is broken or severely worn down
- Covering a dental implant
- Covering a tooth post-root canal
- Holding a dental bridge in place
- Helping to support a tooth with a large filling, especially if much of the natural tooth has worn or cracked away
- Covering a tooth that is severely discolored or misshapen
As you can see, a dental crown can be used for medically necessary reasons or for cosmetic reasons, and for all age groups.
How is a Dental Crown Placed?
If you have anxiety around the dentist’s office, it can help to know the procedure involved when getting a dental crown placed. First, there are two visits involved when in need of a dental crown. Here’s what you can expect when in need of a dental crown treatment:
In your first dental crown appointment:
- A dentist will examine the tooth in need of a crown.
- X-rays are taken of the tooth and the surrounding bone.
- After the exam, if any decay, injury to the pulp, or risk of infection is found, a root canal may be needed. You can read more about root canals here.
- The tooth will be filed down on the top and on both sides to make space for the crown. The amount of tooth filed depends on the type of crown you’ll be getting. For example, an all-metal crown won’t require much of the tooth to be filed away since it’s made of thinner material.
- A putty is used to make an impression of the tooth and the teeth around it after reshaping is finished. This ensures the crown fits and does not affect your natural bite.
- The impression is sent to a dental lab where a crown will be made. While you wait for your crown, your dentist will give you a temporary one to protect the tooth.
Your second dental crown appointment involves:
- The temporary crown given on your first visit is removed.
- The fit and color of the permanent dental crown is checked before being applied.
- A local anesthetic is applied to numb the tooth and the new crown is cemented on top in place.
You’re all done!
Dental Crown Aftercare
Now that you know how a dental crown works, what about after it has been placed? You’ll be happy to know that there isn’t any special care involved outside of routine brushing and flossing. This is important as the dental crown doesn’t stop decay or gum disease from getting to the tooth it’s protecting. It’s also important to note that dental crowns don’t last forever – they usually range between 5-15 years.
If you need a dental crown or are worried about the strength of your teeth, we have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 587-801-1939 or contact us here.