So you’ve gotten the news that you need a dental crown. You probably have a few questions running through your head, and it’s normal to be a little nervous. However, once you learn how a dental crown works, you’ll realize there is nothing to worry about. According to the American College of Prosthodontists, dental crown placement is the most common restorative procedure in the United States, and about 2.3 million implant-supported crowns are made each year.
How a Dental Crown Works
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that covers the base of a tooth. Patients commonly prefer a cap made of porcelain because it mimics the look of a natural tooth. However, you may choose to go with a metal crown to cut costs if the affected tooth is a far-back molar.
There are several purposes that dental crowns serve, and many scenarios in which you might need one:
- You have a cracked or fractured tooth that needs to be restored.
- Your tooth has significant decay.
- Your root canal site needs to be protected.
- You have a dental implant that needs to be covered.
- You want to cosmetically enhance your smile.
Now that you know more about how a dental crown works and what purpose it serves, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with the process.
Placing a dental crown usually involves two office visits. At the first visit, your dentist will examine and prepare the tooth. Depending on the case, you might have a few X-rays taken to ensure the tooth receiving the crown has healthy roots and surrounding bone. If you have an infection or significant tooth decay, you might need a root canal before a dental crown can be placed.
Next, your dentist will numb your gum tissue and tooth, and begin filing down the surface and sides of the affected tooth. You shouldn’t feel any pain. Your dentist might reshape the tooth using a filling material to adequately support the crown.
Now that the tooth is reshaped, you will receive an impression of your tooth with putty. If you’ve ever had braces or a retainer, be prepared for a flashback. Once the impression is made, your dental crown will be made in a dental lab, which can take up to three weeks.
Before you leave your first visit, you’ll receive a temporary crown to protect your tooth. Be careful with your temporary crown and do not chew on ice or eat sticky foods.
Upon your second visit, your dentist will place the dental crown. Your dentist will numb your tooth once again and cement the crown in place. At first, this tooth may feel like a foreign object in your mouth, but within a few days it will feel like it was there your whole life. If your bite does not feel natural, tell your dentist because the crown may need to be filed down.
Dental Crown Maintenance
Unlike your temporary crown, your new crown will be built to last. Dental crowns last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, and you can extend the life of your crown by practicing good dental hygiene. This means you should brush twice a day and use floss and mouthwash. Although your dental crown is not a natural tooth, it is still subject to decay and gum disease.
Another way to extend the life of your dental crown is to eat healthy foods and avoid eating sticky foods. Some other habits that you should avoid are chewing on ice, grinding and clenching your teeth, and biting down on any hard material, such as candy.
Pay special attention to your dental crown. If you notice that it feels loose, is chipped, or is causing you any discomfort, contact your dentist immediately. It might be time to replace the crown or add more adhesive cement.
Understanding how a dental crown works can ease your nerves. Just remember that getting one placed is a painless procedure. A porcelain crown will look and feel just like your natural tooth, so you can smile with confidence. If you are looking for a dentist in Springfield, Missouri, give Wilkinson Dental a call at 417-708-0556 or request an appointment online. Dr. Wilkinson and Dr. Gray make it a top priority to ensure that our patients feel relaxed and informed.