Has your dentist recommended a dental crown to restore your tooth? If so you may be wondering what’s involved in the procedure.
Let’s start with an explanation of dental crowns and when they’re needed.
What are dental crowns?
Crowns are hollow tooth-shaped ‘caps’ that cover the visible part of a tooth i.e. the section that sits above the gum line.
You may need a dental crown if:
- Your tooth is badly worn down, cracked, or weak
- You have a cavity that is too big for a filling
- You have undergone a root canal (this leaves a tooth fragile and needing protection from a crown)
- You are replacing a missing tooth or teeth with a dental implant or bridge
So now you know just what they are and when they’re used, let’s look at what’s involved in the process.
The Dental Crown Procedure
A conventional procedure requires two dental visits as follows:
1st dental visit
During this visit, your teeth are examined and an x-ray is taken to determine the condition of the tooth and to assess if any problems might affect the treatment.
Some patients may require root canal treatment before undergoing the dental crown procedure. Once the X-rays have been taken, the tooth is prepared to accommodate the crown.
The dentist shapes the tooth by filing down and removing part of the outer layer of enamel so that the crown can easily adhere to the tooth. In some cases, they may need to use filling material if there is insufficient tooth structure to affix the crown to.
Once done, the dental professional then takes precise moulds or impressions of your teeth to make a custom crown. This may involve physical moulds crafted from dental putty or paste that holds the shape of your teeth or alternatively, 3D digital scans of your teeth.
An impression of the teeth on the opposite jaw may also be taken to ensure that the dental crown fits perfectly into your bite and sits comfortably against the other arch of teeth.
This done, there will be a discussion about the colour of your custom crown since it needs to match the shade of your teeth so that it blends seamlessly into your smile. If you’re thinking of having your teeth whitened, now is the time to mention this fact. Your dentist will also discuss which material will work best for your crown.
Before your visit ends, the dental specialist will fit a temporary crown to protect your tooth.
While this is partly for aesthetic purposes, it’s also necessary because a significant amount of its structure has been removed to make way for the custom crown. The temporary crown offers protection while you wait for your custom crown to be made at the dental lab.
So, that’s the first part of the dental crown procedure but what happens next?
2nd dental visit
On the day of your second dental visit, the dentist will remove your temporary crown and replace it with your permanent one.
At this point, they can check that everything is right – it’s a good fit, there is sufficient space between the crown and the adjacent teeth, and the colour matches.
Any changes need to be final. Once the dentist is happy with the aesthetics and fit, he or she will start the cementing process.
A local anaesthetic will be administered to numb the area and you may be given a desensitising agent to ease any pain from sensitivity after the procedure. Your mouth must be dry before applying the bonding agent and to help achieve this, the dentist may place cotton rolls on either side of the tooth.
Once your mouth is completely dry, the bonding agent is applied and the permanent dental crown is placed over the tooth. It’s left to dry for around 10 minutes after which a final check is carried out to ensure the positioning and bite is correct.
So now you know what happens during a crown procedure it’s worth taking a look at what types of crowns are commonly used.
Dental crown procedure – Types of commonly used crowns
Porcelain is probably the most popular material used for dental crowns although other materials used in dentistry include:
- Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)
- Ceramic and
Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and your choice may depend on the location in your mouth and, of course, the price.
Porcelain Fused to Metal (PFM):
- Advantages: Durable, affordable, and available in a wide range of shades to match your natural teeth.
- Disadvantages: The metal substructure can sometimes show through translucent gums, giving a grayish tinge. Not as aesthetically pleasing as some other options.
- Advantages: Strong, biocompatible (gentle on gums), and aesthetically pleasing with a natural, translucent look.
- Disadvantages: More expensive than PFM and porcelain crowns. May not be as strong as gold in some cases.
- Advantages: Highly aesthetic, offering exceptional translucency and natural-looking shine. Biocompatible and gentle on gums.
- Disadvantages: Less durable than zirconia and porcelain, making them unsuitable for high-stress areas like back teeth. Can be more expensive than PFM.
- Advantages: Incredibly durable, long-lasting, and resistant to wear and tear. Biocompatible and doesn’t corrode.
- Disadvantages: The most expensive option. Not aesthetically pleasing for everyone due to its metallic color.
Are You Ready for Dental Crowns?
So now you fully understand the procedure there’s nothing to stop you from going ahead with the treatment.
If you’d like to know more about them, how to care for them, and the cost, Just talk to Macquarie Dental.