What If You Need a Crown?

During a recent dental visit, your dentist may have informed you that a tooth of yours requires a crown. This procedure may seem a bit mysterious, but it’s actually simple and relatively quick to complete.

What is a Crown?

A crown is a tooth-shaped covering that’s can also be called a “cap.” This protective barrier is placed over a tooth that is decayed or has been badly damaged.

Prefabricated crowns, made of stainless steel or plastic, are generally used as a temporary measure until a permanent crown is made. The permanent crowns are made-to-order, and can consist of metal, porcelain fused to metal (PFM), or ceramic.

Why is a Crown Necessary?

If a tooth has been broken or has experienced severe decay, a crown is a stronger and more reliable option than a filling. Generally, fillings are good to replace a tooth that has suffered minor decay and to prevent further damage, but aren’t strong enough to hold a cracked tooth together or replace enough of a severely damaged tooth.

Crowns can also be used to hold a bridge in place or improve the appearance of your teeth. The porcelain infused metal (PFM) and the ceramic crowns look just like normal teeth, and are suitable for the front of your mouth. The back of your mouth requires stronger metal materials, such as gold alloy or alloys made of palladium, nickel or chromium.

How a Crown is Placed

Most crown placements necessitate two visits to the dentist to complete the procedure. The first visit is for preliminary work to prepare for the permanent crown, while the second visit is to place the this crown onto the damaged tooth.

There are many steps taken during the first visit for crown placement. Because a crown takes up space, the damaged tooth will need to be filed to make room for it. A foundation to support the crown may also be required if large parts of the tooth are missing, decayed or damaged.

After filing the tooth, your dentist will take an impression of the tooth that takes about five minutes, as well as the teeth above or below the tooth that needs a crown. While these impressions are sent to the lab and your permanent crown is made, the dentist will fit your tooth with a temporary crown. These are generally made of plastic and can last up to a year or more. It will be placed using a weak cement that can be easily removed when it’s time to place the permanent crown.

After a Crown Placement

Once the permanent crown is tested by your dentist, it will be placed on the damaged tooth using a permanent cement. There shouldn’t be any sensitivity or discomfort once the crown is attached. If you notice any sensitivity or pain, consult your dentist right away – it may be that the crown needs to be adjusted.

It’s important to get your crowns checked by the dentist when you go for your dental checkups every six months. This will ensure that the fit is right and the crown is protecting your tooth.

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