They used to be called “caps.” If a hockey player busted one of his teeth, he would have it capped. Somewhere along the line, the preferred term became crown. And while a true crown in the royal sense doesn’t provide much protection, a dental crown at Gentle Dental is all about protection — protection of a weakened tooth beneath the crown.
A crown covers the entire tooth surface down to the gumline, restoring the original size and shape of the tooth, and more importantly, giving it strength. Crowns are used when other restorations such as fillings will leave the tooth too weak, and they are also used as abutments (anchors) for bridges.
What is a crown, the non-thorny kind?
Just like the gem-laden sort on a king’s dome, a crown sits atop the natural tooth covering it all the way down to the gumline. Crowns are fabricated in a dental lab so that they precisely fit your tooth and match the color of the adjacent teeth. To make room for the crown (because it has to occupy the same size with the crown on as the natural tooth did), we remove some of the natural tooth. The crown is then attached on top. Crowns can be made from various materials: gold, dental composite, porcelain fused to metal, or all porcelain. At Gentle Dental, we prefer porcelain crowns; we feel they provide the best combination of strength and appearance.
When can a crown be needed?
The goal of a crown is to return strength to a tooth, restoring its function. Crowns can be used on:
- Fractured fillings
- Teeth with large fillings
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Decayed teeth
- Teeth that have had a root canal
- Severely worn teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Severely stained teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- The teeth on both sides of a bridge
How is a crown placed on a tooth?
At Gentle Dental crowns require two appointments. Here’s the process.
First, Dr. Hart, Dr. Messer, or Dr. Strober, or Dr. Butkofski removes all the damage and decay from the tooth, along with any filling that has fractured or is otherwise unstable. Next, the tooth is shaved down to create room for the crown. We then take a series of impressions, photographs, and other measurements to provide the details necessary for the dental lab to create your crown. We will place a temporary crown on your tooth to protect it while your permanent crown is being made.
Your crown is usually finished within two weeks. At that point, you return to Gentle Dental. First, we place the crown onto your tooth with a temporary bonding material so that we can test the bite and see if you are satisfied with the fit. Once we both agree everything is right, we cement the crown permanently onto your tooth. No recovery is needed; you can eat normally as soon as you leave our office.
Is there any special care required for my porcelain crown?
A crown doesn’t require any special care, just diligent brushing and flossing on a daily basis. As long as you’re removing plaque and food debris on a daily basis your crown should endure.
While we’re not always big fans of the gemmed sort of crowns, we are big fans of the porcelain sort at Gentle Dental. Call us at (732) 549-5660 for your next appointment.