Sometimes a tooth is too severely damaged for a filling alone to solve the problem. Instead, your dentist may decide that the best course of action is to give you a dental crown, also called a dental cap.
What Is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a small cover that fits over your damaged tooth. Crowns are shaped just like a natural tooth and can be made from several different materials, including the following:
- Metals such as palladium, gold alloy, chromium, or nickel
- Porcelain fused to zirconia
- Porcelain fused to metal
Each material has its own unique benefits that make it a good choice for replacing particular teeth. For instance, PFM and metal are best for back teeth because of their strength. However, the metal crowns may have a gold or silver color. Ceramic and porcelain crowns, on the other hand, are visually indistinguishable from your natural teeth. None of these materials stain or decay like a regular tooth. Caps generally last seven years but may serve for much longer if properly cared for.
Why Would You Need a Crown?
There are a few instances where getting a crown may be necessary, such as these:
- Tooth decay to the point that a tooth will not be strong enough on its own once filled
- Chipped or cracked teeth that may lead to infection without intervention
- Discolored or misshapen teeth that you want to be covered for cosmetic reasons
- To support a dental bridge or implant
Your dentist may also recommend crowning after a root canal, as the teeth which have undergone the procedure may eventually become brittle. Basically, a cap protects your tooth from infection or structural damage.
What Is the Process for Getting a Crown?
Getting a crown usually takes two appointments, the first appointment involves the dentist preparing and shaping the tooth for the new crown. First, the dentist will give a local anesthetic to put the tooth to sleep. You may notice a loss of sensation in that area of your mouth, which can last for a short time after the procedure. Next, they will take a preliminary impression to help them make a temporary crown after the tooth is prepared for the new crown. They remove any old filling and decayed tooth structure. At that time a mold of the tooth will be taken in order for the dental lab to fabricate the new crown. The patient will then wear a temporary crown until the new crown is returned from the lab. This process usually takes 2-3 weeks. At the second, appointment, you’ll then have the permanent crown cemented into place.
You may notice some tooth sensitivity after a crown is placed, but it should be temporary. If sensitivity persists for more than a few weeks, contact your dentist, it is best to have them look at the new crown to see if any adjustments need to be done.
How Do You Take Care of a Dental Crown?
It’s a good idea to be careful with your dental cap for the first hour, to ensure the cement has enough time to fully set. After that, you should care for your crown just as you would your regular teeth. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and going in for a cleaning every six months. Although your crown won’t decay, the tooth underneath is still susceptible to decay.
Medical Center Dental offers a number of dentistry services and welcomes all patients. Whether you visit the dentist frequently or haven’t made an appointment in a while, we can help you with your oral health. Learn more about our office or make an appointment by calling 713-795-5905 or submit this contact form.