If you have a tooth that is damaged, decaying, or otherwise has problems, your dentist may recommend that you get a crown. Crowns are essentially caps that are fitted over an ailing tooth to correct its appearance and protect it from further deterioration. About 85 percent of patients opt for a crown to cover individual teeth instead of bridges. If your dentist plans on placing a dental crown over your tooth, you may be wondering how a dental crown is fitted. Here is a closer look at the process you may undergo when your dentist installs a new dental crown.
The Dentist Will Discuss Your Dental Crown Material and Type Options
A number of types of crowns exist, both in the materials the crowns are made of and how the dental crown itself is structured. Some of the material types crowns can be made out of include:
- Composite resin
- Stainless steel or other metal alloys
Dental crowns can also be made from more than one material. For example, a composite crown could have a metal base. Dental crowns can be structured in various ways as well, such as a half or three-quarter crown. Before being fitted, the dentist will explain which types of crown will be the best fit for your specific situation. Your insurance coverage or cost preference may also be factors to consider.
The Tooth Will Be Prepared for the Dental Crown
In order to apply the crown over the tooth, the tooth itself must first be prepared for the adhesive material and crown placement. This process can vary depending on the shape and quality of the tooth. For example, if you have a tooth that is severely decayed, the dentist may need to do a root canal first to stop the decay process and stabilize the tooth. The outer structure of the tooth may also be manipulated to make it more receptive to the new crown. For example, the external enamel may be “roughed-up” so the bonding material will better adhere to the tooth’s surface.
A Mold Is Taken of the Existing Tooth and a Temporary Crown May Be Placed
Once the dentist has taken the time to stabilize the existing tooth, they will need to take a mold or impression of the shape of the tooth. This mold will eventually be used to create your permanent crown. Dental impressions are typically performed with either alginate or polyvinylsiloxane materials. These materials start out as a sort-of thick liquid, so the dentist will pour the liquid into an impression tray, place the tray in your mouth, and instruct you to hold your mouth in a certain position for a few minutes.
As you wait, the liquid material in the tray solidifies to a more solid form. At that point, the impression tray is taken from your mouth and the dentist has an exact replica of the shape of your teeth, including the tooth that will get a crown. This new mold will be sent to the dental lab and the chosen material will be poured into the mold to create your new crown.
In the event you are not getting a same-day crown, the dentist may give you a temporary crown to keep the affected tooth covered until your final crown is complete. Some types of crowns take longer to complete because the materials take longer to form and cure. The temporary crown adheres to the tooth with a light bonding agent, which means the piece will be easier to remove later once your permanent crown is complete.
Your Permanent Crown Is Installed and Adjustments Are Made
Once your permanent crown has been created, the dentist will bring you in to install the new prosthetic. If you have a temporary crown, the piece will be removed and any residual temporary bonding agent will be sloughed away with basic cleaning methods.
Before your permanent dental crown is placed, the dentist will apply a permanent bonding agent to the tooth. Then, the new crown will be installed over the existing tooth with the bonding agent in place. Any excess adhesive will be removed and adjustments will be made to ensure the new crown is properly seated. In some cases, the dentist will have to manipulate the crown a bit to get it to seat properly on the tooth. For example, you may see the dentist use a small, handheld grinder tool to shave down certain points or edges.
Getting the crown to seat absolutely perfectly is important for a few reasons. For one, you will want the crown to feel like a natural tooth. If you have small protruding edges or height issues, the crown may feel out of place and uncomfortable. Two, the crown must be seated properly to aptly protect the tooth. For both reasons, the dentist will spend some time making minor adjustments to ensure a perfect fit.
Let’s Discuss Dental Crowns and Smile Restoration
In the end, a dental crown can be one of the most effective ways to both protect an ailing tooth and restore the aesthetic appearance of your smile. While not every situation is a good fit for a crown, many situations can be remedied with this cosmetic solution. If you are looking for professional dental services, please contact us at the office of Dr. Kawveh Nofallah DMD in Lakeland, FL. We specialize in dental crowns, root canals, and other dental procedures. Reach out and schedule an appointment with us today!
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