A dental crown is one of the ways a dentist can help you restore your teeth back to their natural state. However, this restoration option is typically used when a tooth or teeth have a large filling that exceeds the natural structure of the tooth or teeth.
Apart from that, your dentist may advise you to have a dental crown put in place if you had canal therapy or a combination of dental filling and root canal in the recent past. You can also get a dental crown put in place for cosmetic purposes. For example, you can have a gold dental crown installed for that extra sparkle.
Here’s what to expect in a standard dental crown procedure.
Dental Crown Procedure
The dentist starts by applying some local anesthesia near the tooth requiring a crown. Even if you have had a root canal before and all of that tooth’s nerve endings are dead to sense, your dentist will still introduce anesthesia as the procedure and the instruments that are used to place the crown come very close to the gingivitis tissue which makes anesthesia necessary.
After numbing the gum, your dentist will then fabricate a dental crown using your mandibular and maxillary arches. This is a crucial step since the crown has to match your unique dental structure to as perfectly as possible.
Depending on the type of crown you have opted for, your dentist may also have to match a few aspects of your teeth. For instance, if you go for a porcelain fused metal crown or a full ceramic one, the dentist will have to match your teeth’s color shade. However, for other crown options like gold crowns, this isn’t necessary.
While the dentist is preparing the crown, his assistant works creating alginate impressions for both your lower and dental arches. The impressions are poured into molds that give a stone impression of the teeth. It is this mold that the dentist uses to create precise crowns for you.
But, since crowns take a bit of time to make, most dentists will prepare temporary crowns that patients can use before the permanent ones arrive from the lab. Your dentist will make little impressions of your teeth in the area of the tooth/teeth that need crowning, and an impression of the opposite arch. These impressions are what are used to create your temporary crown.
However, if the crown you need is for your front teeth, your dentist may request that you visit the lab so that the lab technicians can get a shade of the surrounding teeth.
Dental crowns are basically a hollow imitation of your teeth and fit into them like a cap. However, they are made in such a way that they fit around the tooth tightly to keep bacteria and various debris out, protecting the real tooth/teeth.
As you wait for your dental crown to be made, your cosmetic dentist will install a rubber dam over the teeth to securely hold in place the tooth structure and old filling material. This barrier also stops water from dripping into the mouth.
Once the crown is ready, the dentist will then proceed to prepare your teeth or tooth for the finished crown. This involves the chipping away of precise amounts of your tooth and some of the filling material. If decay is discovered during this stage, it is removed, and composite cores are placed on the affected tooth/teeth. After that, your crown is set and you have a new tooth.