What is a Dental Crown?
Anatomically, the term “crown” refers to the visible surface of a tooth after it develops below the gums and erupts into place. In dentistry, dental crowns are an artificial replica of the natural tooth’s crown to support a variety of dental procedures in order to:
- Cover and support a damaged tooth
- Attach a bridge to span a gap between two teeth
- Protect a weak tooth from breaking
- Repair a broken tooth
- Repair or treat a damaged or misshapen implant
- Restore the patient’s looks by treating discolored or misshapen teeth
An artificial crown, then, is a cap for a damaged tooth. It can consist of metal or porcelain. At Smiles by Shields, we use biocompatible fluoride and BPA-free composites or ceramics.
The dentist will insert a crown to restore a tooth to its normal size, shape, and function—and improve your looks and self-confidence. Crowns are especially useful in repairing cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. Also, if you have had a root canal treatment, a crown will protect the tooth that was restored.
How the Dentist Places the Crown
Usually, it takes two visits to the dentist, who does the placement using the following steps:
1. Preparing the damaged tooth: The dentist removes the outer portion of the tooth so that the crown will fit. The dentist will also clean out any decay and may have to build up the core of the tooth if the tooth structure is weak.
2. Taking an impression: The dentist will take an impression of your teeth needed to fabricate an exact model of the tooth.
3. Attaching a temporary crown: Your first appointment will end after the dentist affixes a temporary crown to wear while you wait for the lab to prepare your permanent one. This will usually take two weeks or less, and you will be advised to avoid hot, cold, or hard, sticky foods until your next visit.
4. Attachment of the permanent crown: Your dentist will place the permanent crown after making adjustments for proper fit. Then your dentist will cement the permanent crown in place.
CEREC® Technology Skips Steps and Requires Just One Visit
Smiles by Shields does crown placements in a single visit with the high-tech CEREC technology. A CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) crown is a same-day procedure that can take about a half-day.
The technology requires special training and uses computer-aided design and manufacturing. Using a small handheld camera, the dentist captures digital images of your tooth and jaw—in 3D and full color.
The computer designs the crown based on the digital input and uses a CEREC milling unit to fabricate a metal-free permanent crown ready for the dentist to cement in place.
So, patients opting for CEREC can skip having the impression taken and waiting two weeks. CEREC crowns provide a durable and natural-looking crown in just one visit to your cosmetic dentist in Jacksonville, Florida.
Caring for Dental Crowns
An oral dental crown with proper care can last for years. Proper porcelain crown care includes:
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily. Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth if the crown of the teeth around it are sensitive to heat and cold.
- Floss daily to keep all your teeth tartar free and in tip-top shape.
- Stay away from hard foods. Don’t chew ice or anything that could cause your porcelain crown to crack or dislodge.
- Use a mouth guard if you grind your teeth at night.
If you have a large cavity that is too big for a filling, you may be ready for a crown. You could also need a crown if your tooth is severely worn down, weakened, cracked or chipped. Additionally, if you had a root canal or are missing a tooth that needs a dental bridge, a crown can be beneficial.
You can have a crown installed in two visits, where the dentist takes an impression of your teeth, installs a temporary crown, and sends the impression off to a lab. Or, you can skip the impression and receive a high-tech CEREC crown in a single day.