What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown, also known as a cap, is a dental restoration that covers (or 'caps') a tooth to restore its shape, size and colour.
Dental crowns can help to improve the strength, function, and appearance of a damaged or decayed tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted and replaced.
Additionally, dental crowns can be used for cosmetic reasons, such as to cover an uneven or discoloured tooth and improve the overall appearance of your smile.
Crowns are quite strong due to the fact that they are often made of porcelain, a material that protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure.
The Crown Procedure
To place a dental crown generally requires at least two appointments at your dental office. Once your dentist determines you need a crown, here's what you can expect at each appointment.
The First Appointment
In order to prepare for a crown, your dentist will first examine your mouth and then prepare the tooth.
Your dentist will file down and remove a portion of the tooth's outer layer to prepare it. After that, they'll take an impression of the trimmed tooth and the surrounding teeth and protect it with a temporary crown. Temporary cement is used to secure the temporary crown so that it can be easily removed once the permanent crown is ready.
Your dental office will send your unique tooth impression to a dental laboratory to make your permanent crown, which may take several weeks.
Using your impression, the laboratory technician is able to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements and sculpt a crown just for you. Your dentist will also be sure to determine the shade of your teeth to help the technician make a crown that will match the colour of the rest of your teeth.
The Second Appointment
Once the crown is ready, you’ll return to your dental office for the second appointment. During this visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and place the permanent crown on your tooth.
The permanent crown is then placed on the tooth and checked for proper fit, bite, and margins. The crown is cemented with permanent cement or dental glue after any necessary adjustments have been made.
Caring for a Dental Crown
With the proper care, dental crowns can last on average from 10 to 20 years. They are still subject to damage, so it is important to take care in brushing and flossing around crowned teeth to prevent them from needing to be replaced too soon.