What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a type of covering created for covering a patient's tooth. In most cases, dental crowns provide a restoration for the shape and size of a tooth, as well as making it stronger or to improve performance. Once the crown has been cemented into place, it provides a "suit of armor" for complete protection.
Some situations in which we may recommend that you have a dental crown include:
- Cavities that are too large to be filled
- Weakened or cracked teeth
- Following a root canal
- Covering a dental implant
- Protecting baby teeth damaged by tooth decay
Dental Crown Placement Procedure
Once the targeted tooth has been completely numbed, it will require some reshaping that involves the removal of some of the tooth structure. Although cement will be retaining the crown in its place, it is important for the shape to be correct for long-term stability.
After the shape is correct, the next step involves forming a mold of the tooth based upon an impression. Afterwards, the tooth will be completely cleaned and dried. A special device will be used to push the gums away so that the mold creates an accurate representation of the tooth.
Before the placement of the crown, a temporary crown may be provided. The impression that was created earlier is sent to a dental laboratory that will actually create the new dental crown. This can take up to two weeks.
The actual placement of the permanent dental crown takes place in a subsequent appointment. This second appointment is a much simpler process. After the tooth has been numbed, the temporary crown will be removed. The fit of the permanent crown will be carefully checked and adjusted if necessary.
After determination of the correct fit, the dental crown will be cemented permanently into position. The patient will normally bite down on a soft material to help the cement become set. Any excess cement will be removed at this time.
Patients typically want to know how long their new dental crown will last. There are a great many factors that go into developing an estimate of crown duration. Some of these factors include patient lifestyle, crown construction material, and the expertise of the dentist.
A dental crown can normally be expected to last anywhere from 5 to 15 years.
If you want your new dental crown to last for as long as possible, it is vital that you maintain proper oral hygiene habits at home. This means brushing twice daily and regularly flossing your teeth. It is also extremely important to get regular dental cleanings and exams.
Lifestyle choices are a huge factor in protecting a new dental crown. Avoid chewing on hard foods like ice, candy and hard nuts. This helps to prevent chips. Although your new dental crown will probably not last for a lifetime, you can extend its life greatly by following the recommendations of your dentist.