If you recently learned that you need a dental crown, you may be wondering what it is and how it will work to cover, protect, and reinforce your tooth while also restoring its appearance and function. Frequently referred to as a “cap,” a dental crown is designed to mimic a natural tooth. Although the idea of receiving a crown can be overwhelming at first, at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest, FL, the process is actually quite simple and straightforward. Our team of highly skilled dentists is dedicated to educating patients about their procedures. Read on to learn more about the steps that are involved.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a custom-made prosthetic tooth that closely mimics a natural tooth. It is one of several types of devices that can be used to repair or restore the original shape and size of a natural tooth that has been damaged or is missing. Made of porcelain, metal or a composite resin material, a hollow crown is fixed over the “crown” portion of a natural tooth or the metal post of a dental implant. Although it sits above the gum line, it may extend down onto the tooth’s root surface.
Just as a sewing thimble is placed atop the finger as a protective barrier, dental crowns serve the same purpose for the natural tooth beneath it. Their resemblance to natural teeth can be remarkable. In fact, it may be difficult for others to discern that a tooth is a crown unless you tell them. Once cemented into place, a crown essentially becomes part of a patient’s tooth and usually is the only part of the tooth that is visible. Because crowns are made of durable materials, they can perform the same way as natural teeth and also can be cared for with routine brushing and flossing.
When is a dental crown used?
Versatile dental crowns can serve different functions by supporting or replacing a tooth that no longer functions properly on its own. Crowns are commonly installed over teeth that have undergone a root canal. They can also serve as a support structure for teeth that have sizeable fillings. They protect weakened teeth and prevent others that are cracked from further breakage. The appearance, shape, and alignment of damaged teeth can be restored for men and women in Pinecrest, FL. As part of the dental implant process, a crown is fixed atop a metal implant post to restore proper oral form and function. Crowns also are employed to hold certain types of dental bridges in place.
Now that you know the basics about dental crowns, as well as some of the reasons that they are used, the expert dentists at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest will detail how these restorative devices are installed.
Step 1: Your examination and consultation
If your tooth has been weakened, damaged, cracked, or has recently received a large filling, a dental appointment is in order. The experienced dentists at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest can determine whether a crown is needed to protect and support the tooth. In some cases, teeth are past the point of being successfully supported by a dental crown and other restorative options can be explored. In certain situations, such as after a root canal, a crown may be necessary. During your consultation, impressions of your teeth will be made. These will be used to craft your dental crown, which may be made from porcelain, composite resin, metal, or porcelain that has been fused with metal. Its color will be carefully selected to match your natural teeth as closely as possible. The installation of most traditional crowns often requires a pair of appointments. A temporary crown can be placed over your tooth to protect it, as well as to allow for correct oral form and function, while your custom crown is being made.
Step 2: Prepping the tooth
Once your crown is ready, patients return to SEDA Dental of Pinecrest to complete the second half of the crown process. If a temporary crown was placed, the dentist will carefully remove it. The tooth and gums surrounding will be numbed (although in the case of a root canal, where the tooth’s nerves are removed, this may not be necessary). Patients who are anxious about the procedure can be made comfortable with other types of sedation. Gingival retraction chords will be used to push the gums down and away from the tooth, allowing for proper placement of the crown. The dentist will remove any existing decay, trim the enamel and shape the tooth so that it can accommodate the crown. In some cases, areas of the tooth must be built up with filling material to provide a base to which the crown can adhere.
Step 3: Installing the crown
The crown will be placed atop the prepared tooth and you will be asked to gently bite down. Impression material may be used to mark areas of the crown that are too high. The dentist will remove the crown and make adjustments with a small drill before retesting it on the tooth. Once in place, the dentist will ask you to inspect the crown. If anything about it feels off or uncomfortable, be sure to advise him or her so that corrections can be made.
Step 4: Securing the crown
Once the necessary adjustments are complete, the dentist will cement the crown in place. The cement can either be put into the crown or applied directly to the tooth before the crown is pushed down over it. Any cement that secretes from beneath its edges will be removed. For the first 24 hours after the crown is placed, patients should be careful to avoid hard, sticky foods while the cement hardens. Some mild discomfort, soreness, temperature sensitivity, or pain while chewing may be felt for a few days following the procedure and usually can be alleviated with over-the-counter medications. With routine daily oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing, your crown should look and perform at optimal levels for years to come.
While it may seem intimidating at first, the process associated with getting a dental crown is relatively simple. The dentists at SEDA Dental of Pinecrest, FL, work closely with patients to determine when a crown is necessary as well as to educate them about the procedure. If you think you may be in need of a dental crown, schedule an appointment today to learn more about the benefits of this tried-and-true dental restoration.