Do you have a problem tooth that’s starting to fail? Are pieces of tooth enamel breaking off from a molar? Is one damaged tooth detracting from the beauty of your smile?
When a tooth becomes damaged or decayed, you may feel like yanking it out and having the whole thing replaced! However, there’s a restorative solution that can save and protect a weakened tooth: a dental crown. Unlike a filling, which fills a hole left by tooth decay, a crown encircles and protects a compromised tooth to replace its function and appearance.
Dental crowns are an excellent solution for teeth with:
- Deep or widespread cavities
- Cracks that threaten future health
- Chips or fractures that result in lost enamel
- Dark-colored stains that cannot be whitened
What are Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over and around damaged teeth. A crown can be made for any tooth that is fundamentally healthy or can be restored with a root canal. They may be made of metal, dental porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), or zirconia. Ceramic crowns are incredibly popular because they bond well to tooth enamel and mimic the color and luster of natural teeth. During your consultation, Dr. Conder will explain the benefits of different fabrication materials and recommend the type of crown best suited to your needs.
Crowns and Bridgework
If you have already lost a tooth, you may be interested in another restoration that also uses the crowning process: a dental bridge. Bridges are a one-piece restoration that effectively replaces a missing tooth.
Bridges look very much like a row of three or more prosthetic teeth. The “tooth” in the middle replaces your lost tooth, while the “teeth” on the ends are actually crowns. The bridge is permanently attached to the natural teeth adjacent to your gap, to support and stabilize the construction.
Dental bridges have several benefits:
- Restoring dental function
- Stabilizing your remaining teeth, so they don’t shift
- Preserving your proper bite alignment
- Making your smile look and feel whole again
Crowns and Root Canals
Since a crown replaces only the portion of the tooth that’s visible above the gum line, the tooth must have a healthy root to support it. If a tooth has a deep cavity or crack that penetrates into the pulp chamber, a root canal treatment may be needed before it can be crowned. This removes bacteria and infected tissues and ensures you won’t suffer from a nasty toothache in the future. When you visit Luck Dental Clinic, dental x-rays will help us determine whether the tooth will require a root canal treatment. Not all crowns require root canal therapy, and your problem will be diagnosed carefully before we make this determination.
What to Expect During a Crown or Bridge Appointment
When you come to our Luck, WI dental clinic, we will examine your teeth and take x-rays to determine whether you might benefit from a dental crown or bridge. If a crown or bridge is indicated, you can expect the following events to happen during your appointment.
- A local anesthetic will be given, to ensure you feel no sensitivity during treatment.
- A preliminary dental impression will be taken. This allows the laboratory to create a model of your teeth to guide the construction of the crown.
- We will use a shade guide to capture the precise color of your natural tooth enamel. This ensures the crown will match your other teeth.
- Tooth preparation will be performed on the affected tooth. This involves removing small amounts of enamel, to make room for the crown or bridgework. If the tooth has been restored in the past, we may need to remove an old filling and replace it or perform root canal therapy.
- A dental impression of the prepared tooth is taken and sent to a dental fabrication laboratory.
- A temporary crown will be created and attached, to protect the tooth while your crown/bridge is being customized.
- When the final crown/bridge is ready, we will call you in for a second appointment—to remove the temporary and permanently bond the crown to the tooth.
- After the crown is cemented to the tooth, we will check it for proper alignment in your bite. If there are any spots that are too high, we will need to reduce them until the fit feels natural.
Whether you are getting a crown or bridge, you will need to be careful with your temporary dental work. Temporaries are not meant to last more than a couple of weeks, so avoid foods that are very crunchy, sticky, or chewy. If your temporary crown becomes dislodged at any point, call Luck Dental Clinic immediately, so we can re-bond it to the tooth. (Leaving a prepared tooth uncrowned may cause pain and damage to the underlying tooth.)