Understanding the Dental Crown Procedure: A Step-by-Step Guide

January 22, 2024 4:27 pm | Published by

The dental crown procedure involves a custom-fitted restoration that acts as a cap for a damaged or decayed tooth, providing strength and improving its appearance. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain, ceramic, metal, gold, or zirconia, according to the requirements of both function and aesthetics. When you have a tooth that’s weakened or has an extensive filling, a crown serves to protect and reinforce it.

The process of getting a dental crown typically involves two main stages. During the initial visit, your dentist prepares your tooth for the crown, making an impression that is sent to a dental lab where your crown is made. A temporary crown is often fitted to protect your tooth while the permanent crown is being crafted. Once ready, the permanent crown is carefully cemented onto your tooth, ensuring a proper fit and bite alignment.

Key takeaways

  • Dental crowns restore strength and aesthetics to damaged teeth using various materials.
  • The procedure includes tooth preparation, impression taking, and fitting of the temporary and permanent crowns.
  • Proper aftercare extends the lifespan of your dental crown, including good oral hygiene practices.
Closeup of a same-day CEREC dental crown from Optima Dental Spa

What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are a form of dental restoration that encapsulate or fully cover the visible part of a tooth. Typically, you might need a crown if your tooth is damaged or weakened by decay, wear, or trauma. Crowns are custom-made to fit over the entire tooth, starting at the gum line, thereby restoring the tooth’s original shape, size, and functionality.

Purpose of Dental Crowns:

  • Restoring a tooth after significant decay or damage
  • Protecting a weakened tooth from fracturing
  • Replacing the external portion of a tooth that has little remaining structure or is decayed
  • Enhancing the tooth’s appearance, including color, shape, and alignment
  • Covering a dental implant or holding a dental bridge in place

Types of Dental Crowns

  • Porcelain or ceramic crowns
  • Gold alloys crowns
  • Base metal alloys crowns
  • Porcelain fused to metal crowns

Each type of material has its own benefits, from aesthetic considerations to strength and durability. Porcelain or ceramic crowns are popular because they can be matched to the color of your existing teeth, offering a more natural appearance.

Dental Crown Procedure: The dental crown procedure typically involves two visits to the dentist. During your first visit, your dentist prepares your tooth by removing any decay and shaping the remaining enamel to make room for the crown. They then take an impression to create a precise model for the crown. A temporary crown is often placed to protect the tooth while the permanent crown is made.

In the second visit, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent crown is adjusted, if necessary, before being securely fixed in place. The end result is a restored tooth with renewed strength and appearance.

Benefits of Getting a Dental Crown

When you’re considering a dental crown, it’s essential to understand the benefits it can offer: from restoring the full function of your natural tooth to enhancing your smile and providing long-term protection.

Restoration of tooth functionality

A key benefit of getting a dental crown is the restoration of functionality. If you have a tooth that’s been weakened by decay or a large filling, a crown can allow you to chew properly and without pain. It acts as a strong, artificial covering that’s designed to fit over your natural tooth, resembling its original shape and size, allowing you to continue eating the foods you love without discomfort.

Improved Dental Aesthetics

Aesthetic improvement goes hand in hand with dental crowns. Whether cracked or discolored, your natural tooth isn’t always up to par with your desired look. A crown can be made to match the color and shape of your surrounding teeth, essentially giving you an artificial tooth that blends seamlessly with your smile, boosting your confidence when you interact with others.

Tooth Protection and Strength

Lastly, dental crowns offer significant protection and strength to your damaged tooth. By covering your tooth, a crown shields it from further damage and provides a stable, durable surface. This means your natural tooth is protected from future decay or injury. Moreover, permanent crowns can lend strength to teeth that have been weakened, such as after root canal therapy or with large fillings, ensuring the longevity of your dental health.

The Dental Crown Procedure

The dental crown procedure is a multi-step process to restore the shape, strength, and appearance of your tooth. Whether you’ve had a root canal or a tooth significantly weakened by decay, a crown can provide a durable solution.

Consultation and Examination

Your journey to a new dental crown begins with a thorough consultation and examination by your dentist. If a root canal is required, that will need to be addressed before the crown process continues. It’s essential for your oral health professional to assess the damaged tooth and surrounding structures to ensure a crown is the appropriate treatment.

Preparation of Tooth

The next step is the preparation of your tooth, which involves reshaping it to fit a crown. This part of the procedure typically involves filing down the tooth under local anesthetic to create enough space for the crown to sit snugly and to remove any decay. If there’s not enough tooth left, your dentist may build it up with a filling material to support the crown.

Dental Impressions and Dental Lab Work

Once your tooth is prepared, your dentist makes an impression or takes a digital image of your bite, which includes the prepared tooth, surrounding teeth, and opposite teeth. This is sent to a dental lab where your permanent crown is crafted using the mold or digital data. Temporary crowns may be placed on your tooth to protect it while the permanent crown is being made.

Dental Crown Fitting and Placement

After your permanent crown is made, you’ll return for a fitting. During this appointment, any necessary adjustments are made to ensure the fit and bite are correct. Your dentist will use a strong adhesive to place the permanent crown, providing you with a restored tooth. A follow-up may be scheduled to ensure everything is functioning well with your new crown. If opting for a same-day dental crown procedure, advanced CAD technology is used to create your crown on-site during a single visit.

Aftercare Tips for Dental Crowns

After having a dental crown placed, it’s imperative to follow certain aftercare guidelines to ensure the longevity and health of your dental restoration.

Tooth Sensitivity: Initially, you may experience some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures after the crown procedure. This is normal and typically diminishes with time. Using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help mitigate this discomfort.

Oral Hygiene Practices:

  • Brushing Teeth: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean your teeth twice a day. Brush around the crown to remove plaque but do so with care to avoid dislodging the crown.
  • Flossing Teeth: Floss daily, being mindful to gently navigate the floss around the crown to prevent damage. A water flosser can be a useful alternative if traditional flossing is challenging.

Eating Habits:

  • Avoid hard and sticky foods in the days following the procedure, as they can dislodge or damage your new crown. Foods like nuts, ice, or caramel can be particularly problematic.

Professional Teeth Cleaning:

  • Schedule and attend regular professional cleanings to maintain both your crown and overall oral health. A hygienist will use specialized tools that clean around the crown without causing harm.

Dental Crown Recovery and Dental Needs:

  • While the post-placement recovery is generally quick, if you notice any irregularities or persistent discomfort, contact your dentist promptly. Always address your specific dental needs with a professional, especially if you suspect any issues with your crown.

Adhering to these aftercare tips helps to extend the crown’s lifespan and maintain your smile’s health.

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