Dental crowns can be the solution to your dental issues if you know how to use them. Here is what you can expect from getting dental crowns.
Got damaged teeth? Do you suffer from a chipped tooth or one slightly damaged by cavities? Fillings can only get you so far — you might need dental crowns.
Getting dental crowns is pretty common nowadays. However, we understand that any dental procedure can be unnerving to patients.
Learning about the benefits of crowns, though, can dissipate some of the fear. Keep on reading to familiarize yourself with the process.
What is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is a restorative procedure for bringing back the look, feel, and use of a damaged or decayed tooth. It’s a cap that looks like a tooth, covering what remains of your natural tooth to protect it from further decay.
It has other uses, though, such as for holding a dental bridge in place. It can also cover a dental implant.
Types of Dental Crowns
There are four main types of dental crowns: base metal crowns, porcelain, gold, and ceramic. Porcelain and ceramic are the most common dental crowns because they look natural. Base metal crowns, however, last much longer.
Why go for gold? Yes, they look unnatural and some people might suffer allergies, but they are the most durable.
Your First Appointment
Getting dental crowns usually requires two visits to the dentist. In your first visit, you can expect the following:
Before putting the actual crown, which will happen in the next appointments, the dentist will first examine the affected tooth. They will get x-rays of the tooth and bone around it to determine how to go about the procedure.
At this point, the dentist will also see if there’s anything to fix before you get a dental crown. If there’s any tooth decay, risk of infection, or injury, you might have to get a root canal first.
The next step is to prepare the tooth for the crown by filing it on the top and the sides. The dentist will shave enough to make space for the crown. Don’t worry; your dentist will numb the tooth and the gum area around it so you’ll only feel minor discomfort.
The amount of tooth that the dentist will file away depends on what type of dental crown you’re going to get.
For instance, an all-metal crown is much thinner than porcelain crowns. As such, the dentist doesn’t need to shave much of the tooth to fit it.
However, the tooth also needs to have enough to hold the crown. When a tooth is too damaged, you may need to get a filling material to build up the tooth structure.
The dentist will then make an impression of the tooth to create the crown. They will use putty or a paste to form the mold.
This step includes creating a mold of the tooth above or below the affected tooth, as well. This ensures that the crown won’t get in the way of the opposite one, which can affect your bite.
If you’re getting a porcelain crown, your dentist will then select a tooth color closest to your tooth’s natural shade.
The dentist won’t make the crown; they will only send the mold to an external laboratory. This is why getting a dental crown requires a second visit.
In the meantime, they will install a temporary crown to protect the tooth. It’s often made of acrylic, and it uses temporary cement to stay in place.
If the clinic has CAD/CAM, it can offer same-day dental crowns. Instead of creating an impression of your tooth, they would use a scanning wand to take pictures of the tooth and mouth.
The machine’s software will create a 3D impression of the tooth based on these pictures. Another machine will take this impression and carve it out of a ceramic block. It only takes under 30 minutes from the scanning to the creation of the crown.
Your Second Appointment
It will take around two to three weeks for the laboratory to deliver the crown back to the dentist. You’ll then have to make a second appointment.
Once you’re back at the clinic, the dentist will begin the process by removing the temporary crown first. They will also check the fit of the crown of the tooth. If it’s off, they may have to build up the foundation further to ensure a perfect fit.
They will also check if the shade of the tooth is correct. If everything’s okay, they will then cement the permanent crown after giving you a local anesthetic.
It will take around 10 minutes for the permanent cement to set. After this, your dentist will check your bite.
After Your Appointment
For the most part, you can go back to your normal life after receiving your dental crown. Note that you might experience some changes in your bite in the following days, though.
You might also feel some sensitivity, especially if the tooth with the crown still has a nerve in it. You may feel more sensitive to heat and cold. Take it up to your dentist so they can recommend a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Refrain from eating sticky or chewy foods, like chewing gum, caramel rice cakes, and such. They might grab or pull off the crown. Avoid hard foods, as well, which can dislodge or even break the crown.
You should also try to chew on the other side first. Minimize the use of your mouth on the side of your new dental crown.
What to Look Out For After Getting Dental Crowns
While taking great care of your new dental crown, you should still be on the lookout for some issues that might arise. We’ve listed some of the most common issues below:
1. Chipped Crown
Porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are susceptible to chipping. If this happens to you, go back to your dentist.
If it’s a small chip, they can use a composite resin to fix it. If it’s too large, you may need a whole new crown.
2. Loose Crown
Sometimes, the cement doesn’t set properly, or the fit is wrong. This results in a loose crown.
This is a serious issue as it can allow bacteria inside, defeating the purpose of the crown. Visit your dentist ASAP when you notice loose dental crowns.
3. Allergic Reaction
In rare cases, people get an allergic reaction to the porcelain or the metals. Talk to your dentist right away.
Find a Reputable Dentist
Getting dental crowns is a common procedure, so you don’t need to worry much over it. Nonetheless, you should find a good dentist who will make you feel comfortable with their experience and skill.
Fortunately, you don’t have to look far and low for a reputable professional. We’re here for all your dental needs. Contact us today to ask questions or make an appointment.