Dental Crowns (Caps)
A dental crown or cap is used to restore a tooth's shape and size, increase its strength and improve appearance. Dental crowns may be recommended for various reasons such as:
- Strengthening a tooth with a large filling
- Protecting a weak tooth or tooth with fracture lines from breaking
- Restoring a broken tooth
- Protecting a tooth with a root canal
- Attaching a bridge
- Improving the appearance of a malformed, severely stained, or otherwise unaesthetic tooth
Types of Crowns
There are several material options to choose from for your dental crown, including:
- Ceramic or Porcelain
- A combination of the above materials
The type of crown chosen for your tooth will depend on several factors. At Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry, your dentist will discuss the various options with you in order to help you choose the best material for your mouth based on your individual bite, cavity risk, oral habits, and aesthetic preferences.
Dental Crown Procedure
Your dental crown procedure will typically take two to three appointments.
Your initial visit is for preparing the tooth, taking impressions, fabricating and placing a temporary crown. You will be numbed at this appointment so that we can work on your tooth painlessly and easily. Your first appointment will take about 90 minutes. The impression of your tooth will be sent to a local dental laboratory, where an experienced dental laboratory technician will design and fabricate a crown to fit your unique tooth. This process takes approximately 2 weeks.
The follow up visit is for removal of the temporary crown and fitting of your new crown. At this visit we check the shape, color and fit of your crown to ensure everything is perfect. You will also be given an opportunity to evaluate the tooth to make sure the color and shape of the tooth meet your expectations. If any changes to the crown are desired we will return it to the lab so that they may modify the fit, shape or color. In these cases, you would return for a third visit to re-evaluate the crown. Once we are satisfied with all aspects of your crown it will be permanently cemented to your tooth.
In some cases, we will use a special machine called a CEREC, which allows us prepared your tooth and make your crown in one visit. A CEREC machine takes photos of your tooth and mills an all ceramic crown in the office, allowing you to complete your crown in one day rather than over a few weeks.
Caring for your Dental Crown
After your appointments, you may notice some tenderness around the injection site, the tooth worked on, and the surrounding tissues. These symptoms will typically resolve quickly. While you are wearing your temporary crown, it is important to be gentle. Temporary crowns are made to come off. We recommend gentle brushing and flossing, along with the avoidance of hard and sticky foods which may crack or pull of your temporary. Permanent crowns need regular brushing and flossing like your regular teeth. We generally recommend patients with crowns avoid very sticky or very hard foods. Even a permanently cemented dental crown can be broken or pulled off by the right force.
As with fillings and all other dental work, crowns need to be replaced periodically. It is possible to get a cavity around a crown, and materials crack, wear, and break down over time. Home care, including brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings are an important part of extending the life of your crown.