What Are Dental Crowns?
A dental crown (also called a cap), is a dental restoration that covers (or 'caps') a tooth to help restore its colour, shape, and size.
Dental crowns can help improve the strength, function, and appearance of a tooth that has been damaged or decayed, that would otherwise have to be extracted and replaced.
Additionally, dental crowns can be used for cosmetic reasons, such as to cover an uneven or discoloured tooth and improve the overall appearance of your smile.
Crowns are quite strong because they are often made of porcelain, a material that protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure.
The Dental Crown Procedure
It generally takes two appointments at your dentist's office to place a dental crown. Once your dentist determines you need a crown, this is what you can expect at each appointment:
Your First Visit
In order to get ready 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. Next, they will 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 temporary cement so that it can come off easily when the permanent crown is ready.
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 is able to 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 Visit
You’ll return to your dentist's office for your second appointment when the crown is ready. 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 any necessary adjustments have been made, the crown is cemented with permanent cement or dental glue.
Taking Care of Your Dental Crown
Dental crowns can last an average of 10 to 20 years if they are properly taken care of. They are still subject to damage, so it is important to take care in brushing and flossing around crowned teeth to prevent them from needing to be replaced too soon.