What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown, or "cap," is a dental restoration that goes over the tooth to restore its shape, size, and color. Crowns can improve the strength and function of damaged teeth that would otherwise need to be fully extracted and replaced.
Additionally, dental crowns can be used for cosmetic reasons, such as to cover an uneven or discoloured tooth and improve the overall appearance of your smile.
Crowns are quite strong due to the fact that they are often made of porcelain, a material that protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure.
The Crown Procedure
Implementing dental crowns typically require two appointments with your dentist. Once your dentist determines you need a crown, here's what you can expect at each appointment:
The First Appointment
In order to prepare for a crown, your dentist will first examine your mouth and then prepare the tooth.
To prepare the tooth, your dentist will file down and remove part of the outer layer of the tooth. Next, they will take an impression of the trimmed tooth and the surrounding teeth, and place a temporary crown over the tooth to protect it. The temporary crown is placed using temporary cement so that it can come off easily when the permanent crown is ready.
Using your impression, the laboratory technician is able to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements and sculpt a crown just for you. Your dentist will also be sure to determine the shade of your teeth to help the technician make a crown that will match the colour of the rest of your teeth.
The Second Appointment
Once the crown is ready, you’ll return to your dental office for the second appointment. During this visit, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and place the permanent crown on your tooth.
The permanent crown is first placed on the tooth and inspected for acceptable fit, bite and smooth margins. After any necessary adjustments have been made, the crown is cemented with permanent cement or dental glue.
Caring for a Dental Crown
With the proper care, dental crowns can last on average from 10 to 20 years. They are still subject to damage, so it is important to take care in brushing and flossing around crowned teeth to prevent them from needing to be replaced too soon.