What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a dental restoration that covers (or 'caps') a tooth to restore its shape, size and colour.
Dental crowns are designed to improve the strength, function, and appearance of a damaged or decayed tooth. If a dental crown is not placed to repair a tooth, it may need to be extracted and replaced.
Dental crowns can also be used for cosmetic reasons, such as to cover an uneven or discoloured tooth, improving the overall appearance of your smile.
Crowns are quite strong as they are often made of porcelain, a material that protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure.
The Crown Procedure
Placing a dental crown usually requires at least two appointments. If your dentist decides that you need a crown, here's what you can expect at each appointment.
Your First Appointment
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. They will then 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 a temporary adhesive so that it can come off easily when it is time to place the permanent crown.
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 can 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.
Your Second Appointment
Once the crown is ready to be placed, 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 the necessary adjustments have been made, the crown is cemented with permanent dental cement or dental glue.
Maintaining a Dental Crown
A dental crown can last on average from 10 to 20 years if it is provided with the proper care. They are still subject to damage, so it is important to take care in brushing and flossing around crowned teeth to keep them from needing to be replaced sooner than later.