Also known as a cap, a dental crown is most often a tooth-colored prosthetic designed to cover a damaged tooth in a fixed position. Once inserted, a crown can strengthen the tooth, improving its overall appearance and alignment in the mouth.
Unless there is other dental work involved, you’ll usually visit your dentist twice for your crown.
1st visit: Expect your dentist to: Talk to you about the various crown options, the choice of which depends on such factors as the crown’s placement, your bite, your gum tissue, and, of course, your finances.
Trim down the damaged tooth to make room for the crown to fit comfortably. Take an impression for the crown by having you bite into impression paste placed on your trimmed tooth. This impression will go to a dental lab that’ll prepare your crown. Insert a temporary crown until your permanent crown returns from the dental lab.
2nd visit: Your dentist will remove the temporary crown and fit the permanent one, making sure it feels right before cementing it into place. If needed, a post may be required to build up your tooth up before placing the crown. Ultimately, your crown should function just as your natural tooth would.
You might require a crown for any number of reasons.
- Cap a damaged or decayed tooth.
- Strengthen a filled tooth.
- Protect a weak tooth.
- Improve a discolored tooth.
- Hold a dental bridge in place.
- Protect a tooth post-root canal.
- Cap a dental implant.
If your crown becomes loose, falls out or chips, consult your dentist. But with proper dental health maintenance – the same oral hygiene routine you use to keep your teeth healthy – crowns can last a lifetime.
However, the goal is to avoid needing a crown, and you know how to do that. Eat foods your teeth love, floss or clean between your teeth, and brush twice daily, preferably with a toothbrush that cleans your back molars, such as one with bi-level bristles, and, as always, schedule regular checkups with your dentist.