What is a dental crown?
A crown is a cover or “cap” we can put over a tooth. A crown restores a damaged or missing tooth to its normal shape, size and function. A crown can protect the tooth or improve the way it looks.
Dr. Kevin or Wendy Brafman may recommend a crown to:
- Support a tooth that has a large filling when there isn’t enough natural tooth structure remaining
- Attach a bridge to replace missing teeth
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a tooth that has had a root canal
- Cracked tooth
What is your crown made from?
Crowns can be made from several types of materials. Metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, porcelain fused to metal or composite resin may be used. When a crown is made, the material often is tooth colored to blend with your natural teeth.
Steps of placing a crown
It usually takes two dental visits to complete the treatment. When a crown is placed over a natural tooth, several steps are involved:
- Dr. Kevin or Wendy Brafman prepares the tooth by removing the outer portion, including any decay, so the crown will fit. If additional tooth structure is needed to support the crown we may build up the core of the tooth. Sometimes posts or pins can be used to help hold the core in place.
- An impression is made to create an exact model of your tooth.
- To protect your tooth while the permanent crown is being made, a temporary crown is placed. Making the permanent crown usually takes 3-4 weeks at the laboratory. While you have a temporary crown, the tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold. Avoid chewing gum and eating sticky foods during this time.
- When the permanent crown is ready, we will place it in your mouth and make the necessary adjustments. When you and the doctor are happy with how it looks and feels, the crown is cemented into place.
Many people have unexplained pain from filled back teeth, which is usually due to hairline cracks in the chewing part of the tooth. Placing crowns on these teeth relieves the pain and allows a return of full dental function for these teeth. In front teeth, older fillings can both weaken the teeth, and cause “appearance” problems due to staining or chipping. Porcelain crowns and bridges are suitable in cases where porcelain veneers are not. In teeth with root canal fillings, crowns can prevent breakage.