What is a Dental Crown?
Also called a cap, a dental crown is a dental restoration that covers (or 'caps') a tooth to restore its size, shape and colour.
With dental crowns, we can change the function, strength and appearance of a damaged or decayed tooth that your dentist would otherwise need to remove and replace.
Dental crowns can also be used for cosmetic reasons, such as to cover a discoloured or uneven tooth and alter your smile's general appearance.
Crowns are quite durable due to the fact that they are typically made of porcelain, a material that protects and strengthens the remaining structure of the tooth.
The Crown Procedure
You'll generally need at least two appointments for a dental crown to be placed. Once the dentist has found that you need a crown, here's what you can expect during each appointment at your dental office.
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.
Your dental office will send your unique tooth impression to a dental laboratory to make your permanent crown, which may take several weeks.
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.