Dental crowns are designed to cover and protect damaged teeth. Sometimes this is for a tooth with a large filling in it that may not be strong enough to withstand chewing; sometimes they are used to cover broken, partial teeth.
Other reasons for needing a dental crown include teeth that have had a root canal, teeth that have badly deteriorated, teeth that are discolored, crooked, or misshapen and damaged dental implants.
Crowns are often made from gold, because it is safe in the body, strong, and easy for dentists to work with. The crowns are then covered in porcelain, which is white in color. Crowns can also be made with all porcelain. Crowns last an average of ten years, but if you brush and floss regularly, they can last much longer.
What to Expect
At your first appointment:
- You are given a local anesthetic.
- Your tooth is filled or filed to the proper shape.
- An impression of the tooth will be taken.
- A plastic, temporary crown is put in place.
You will return for your second appointment when the crown is ready. It usually takes two to three weeks for the lab complete it. They use microscopes to ensure a perfect fit and also match the color of the porcelain to your other teeth. At this time:
- Your temporary crown is removed.
- The new crown is positioned and fastened with a strong adhesive.
Taking Care of your Crowned Tooth
It is possible that after years of use, your crown will become loose and fall out. The most important thing you can do to safeguard it is to practice good oral hygiene, which includes:
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day to keep your gums healthy. Since the crown sits above the gums, the tooth can still develop a cavity.
- See your dentist or hygienist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
- Avoid chewing really hard foods like ice or hard candy to prevent damage to your crown.
Your new crown may not feel like your other teeth in your mouth at first. However, in a short time it should feel, function, and look just like a regular tooth.
If you have any questions about crowns, or think you may need one, be sure to schedule an appointment and ask your dentist.