There are several types of restoration dentistry which can allow a patient to save as much of a natural tooth as possible, one of the most popular being a dental crown. A crown (also sometimes referred to as a cap) is essentially a prosthetic top of a tooth, which is created in a dental lab using xrays and bite molds as well as computerized imaging techniques. The crown is manufactured out of one of several different composite materials which are chosen for their strength and durability, as well as the ability to produce a natural looking prosthetic. The process of dental crowns will usually involve multiple visits, the first of which allows for examination, preparation and impressions and the second to allow for placement and finalization of the tooth surface. A crown will have a long lifespan if properly cared for, but may eventually need replacement due to wear.
A crown procedure is usually the decision if the patient has a significant amount of damage to a tooth which cannot be reversed through less invasive procedures like veneers, composite fillings, inlays or onlays. In a situation where damage or decay creates an inability to fill a tooth and provide enough stability to withstand the processes of daily chewing, or one in which the appearance of the tooth cannot be improved using a less invasive procedure, the crown will be the course of action. Due to the fact that a large amount of natural tooth surface will be removed, a dentist will generally opt for crowns only in situations where the damage cannot be reversed through lesser means.
The procedure of receiving a crown is generally straight forward. On the first visit, the dentist will take xrays and correct any other issues with oral health that might inhibit the procedure. The area will be cleaned and then any damaged or decayed tooth material will be removed. The dentist will then take highly accurate impressions of the bite in order to have the crown custom made in a dental lab. A temporary crown will be fixed into place until the permanent prosthetic is received. On the second visit the dentist will remove the temporary crown, re-examine the area for any additional damage or decay, then apply the permanent tooth using a bonding agent. After the crown is affixed into place, bite impressions will be taken once again so as to provide the dentist with any areas of the crown that need to be modified in order to create a comfortable bite between the upper and lower teeth. If this final modification of the crown's shape was not done, high areas can create tooth pain when chewing. Once this is completed, the crown should need no additional attention beyond brushing and flossing.
Dental crowns provide a stable tooth surface which improves both chewing and appearance, creating a natural looking tooth that should last many years if cared for. Crowns can assist patients with tooth pain as well as large amounts of decay. Ask your dentist today if you are a candidate for dental crowns.