Over time our teeth begin to weaken and become more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks, discoloration and others. If you feel your smile isn’t what it once was, crowns can help you recover your smile. If your dentist notices that a tooth is decayed or seems weakened/cracked, a crown may be necessary to make sure that there are no additional problems with the tooth. In cases like this a filling or bonding will not be sufficient.
Crowns can be made from porcelain, zirconium, porcelain fused to metal, or full gold. Because each tooth and mouth is different, the dentist will discuss with you which type of crown will be best for you and your personal situation.
The process of installing a crown usually takes 2 visits to the dentist, once you have already been diagnosed as needing a crown. On the first visit the tooth will be reshaped by filing down the enamel so that the crown can be placed over it. You will be given a local anesthetic before this part of the procedure so that you do not experience any discomfort. Once the tooth has been reshaped, a mold will be taken of that tooth and the surrounding teeth. This mold will be sent to a dental lab so that your new crown can be made so that it fits in the spot created for it and looks the same relative to the surrounding teeth. Before leaving, your dentist will fit you with a temporary crown until your permanent crown is ready. Our office also has a digital scanner that can be used in place of taking the mold. If the dentist feels your situation is a good fit for the scanner, they will use this new method to send a digital scan to the lab for your crown to be fabricated on a 3D printed model versus a stone model poured from the mold. This new technology is exciting for both our doctors and the patients!
The crown usually takes 3 weeks to be returned to your dentist. At this second appointment the temporary crown is removed and the permanent one is fitted, adjustments made if necessary, and then the crown is cemented on your tooth permanently. Quite often you do not even need a local anesthetic for this second appointment, but the dentist will decide depending on your personal situation.
Crowns are durable and can last about 10-15 years, if maintained properly. Your own natural tooth structure is supporting the crown, so if not properly cared for you could get decay under the crown. You should care for it as you would any of your other teeth with regular brushing and flossing, and your six month cleaning recall visits with us.