Everything you need to know about dental crowns
Dental crowns are tooth-colored, gold, silver, or metal caps that fit over damaged teeth to restore their natural function, shape and look. They consist of metals, ceramics, porcelain, or composite resin. Most commonly, a dental crown is placed after a root canal or dental implant procedure.
Same-Day Crowns. Some dental offices might offer a same-day dental crown placement through computer-aided design (CAD). In this case, instead of taking X-rays, sending them to a lab, and waiting a few weeks, a scanning device takes images of your tooth, and the software uses these images to make a 3D model of your 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 badly shaped or discolored tooth
Cover a dental implant
What is your crown made from?
Crowns can be made from several types of materials. Metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal or composite resin may be used. When a crown is made, 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
Costs and insurance should also be discussed and considered. After you and your dentist have looked at these factors, you might want to talk about your personal preference.
Steps of placing a crown
It usually takes two dental visits to complete the treatment. When a crown is placed over a natural tooth, several steps are involved:
Your dentist prepares the tooth by removing the outer portion, including any decay, so the crown will fit. If additional tooth structure is needed to support the crown, your dentist may build up the core of the tooth.
An impression is made to create an exact model of your tooth. The impression can be made from a mold or by digitally scanning the tooth.
To protect your tooth while the permanent crown is being made, a temporary crown is placed. Making the permanent crown usually takes less than 2 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. If your dentist has special equipment, you may be able to get your permanent crown on the same day.
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, the crown is cemented into place.
Caring for your teeth
Like natural teeth, 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 pencils, especially if you have tooth-colored crowns.
Be sure to see your dentist for regular exams and professional teeth cleanings.