What is a crown exactly?
A crown is a dental restoration that completely covers, or “caps” a tooth. There are many materials that can be used to fabricate a crown. Typically you will see one of three types:
- Non-metal restorations – with the advent of new technology, these crowns are quickly growing in popularity, and are the ones we most commonly place in our practice. This crown is fabricated entirely from non-metal materials such as Alumina, Leucite, Zirconia and Porcelain. Our preferred choice for the best in natural appearance, longevity and functionality is a fully porcelain, custom fabricated crown.
When do I need a crown?
Most commonly, crowns are necessary when decay has caused so much damage to the tooth that not enough natural structure remains for it to survive on its own. The crown then replaces the decayed area and provides protection for the remaining natural tooth. Root canal therapy on posterior teeth is often finished by placing a crown: many times these teeth are too weak after therapy and need the protection of a crown. Implants will also need to be restored using crowns. Crowns can also be a cosmetic option, used to change the appearance of a person’s tooth when other aesthetic options are financially or dentally undesirable.
How does getting a crown work? And how long does a crown take?
We are thrilled to have recently acquired a CEREC machine, which allows us to fabricate many same day crowns on site in as little as one 2 hour visit. Read more on how we do that here or watch the video to the right!
If your case is such that a traditional crown is necessary, you’re looking at a two appointment process. The first appointment runs approximately 90 minutes. Here the doctor will first remove all the decay and offending tooth structure to prepare the tooth for the coming crown. We’ll then take a series of impressions and bite registrations so the lab knows exactly the shape of the crown needed. We’ll also pick a shade at this appointment to match your natural teeth as best as possible. As with any restorations, if you are interested in whitening, you’ll want to achieve your desired shade before the crown is fabricated. Finally, the doctor will make you a temporary crown to protect the work that’s been done this visit. This is affixed with just enough cement to let you function while the permanent crown is being made, so treat it gently!
The second appointment is where the doctor will deliver and cement your final crown. We’ll check the fit, the shade match and your bite; once doctor is convinced everything is perfect, the crown will be cemented into place and you’ll be on your way. This appointment is much quicker, typically about 40 minutes.
What can I expect after getting a crown placed?
- You can expect to be numb for a few hours following your procedure. Due to this numbness, drinking and eating may be difficult in the affected area. Avoid drinking anything very hot or chewing as you might hurt yourself without realizing it.
- You may experience minor tooth sensitivity for up to 6 weeks after the treatment - this is a natural response from having work done, though not everyone experiences it. The gums surrounding the teeth may be sensitive for up to a week after the procedure as a result of tissue manipulation during the filling. If sensitivity is more than mild or persists beyond these timeframes, contact your dentist for an appointment to make sure everything is healing appropriately.
- Once the numbness wears off, pay attention to your bite to make sure everything feels normal. You want to feel your teeth hitting on both sides simultaneously when you bite down. If this is not the case, or if you're experiencing continued discomfort with chewing, go back to your dentist and they can do a quick adjustment - no anesthetic needed!
- You should treat your new crown like all of your other teeth. Remember, a cavity can develop around a crown just like an unrestored tooth, so it needs to be kept clean!