What are dental crowns?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth covering the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Why do teeth need dental crowns?
A dentist might recommend placing a dental crown for a variety of reasons but, in general, most of these reasons will usually fall within one of the following basic categories:
- To restore a tooth to its original shape.
- To strengthen a tooth.
- To improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth.
What materials can crowns be made from?
In modern-day dentistry. there is a wide variety of dental materials to choose from. Some crowns are made from full gold, where as others are made from an alloy of metals fused to a porcelain outer shell. After time, crowns that are made from a combination of metal fused to porcelain can begin to show dark gum lines that are not aesthetically attractive. All-porcelain or -ceramic crowns are the best choice for a natural cosmetic look.
How is a tooth prepared for a crown?
The dentist will prepare the tooth to the ideal shape for the crown. This will involve removing most of the outer surface, and leaving a strong inner 'core.' The amount of the tooth removed will be the same as the thickness of the crown to be fitted. Once the tooth is shaped, the dentist will take an impression of the prepared tooth, one of the opposite jaw and possibly another to mark the way you bite together. The impressions will be given to the technician, along with any other information needed to make the crown.
How long does treatment take?
At least two visits are needed, the first for the preparation, impression, shade taking and fitting the temporary crown, and the second to fit the permanent crown. (Sometimes three occasions needed.)
Does it hurt to have a tooth prepared for a crown?
No. A local anesthetic is used and the preparation should feel no different to that of a filling. If the tooth does not have a nerve and a post crown is being prepared, then local anesthetic may not be needed.