A crown is a “Cap” which can be placed over a tooth. By covering the entire tooth, it protects the tooth from further decay and fracture.
What follows is a brief overview of crowns, why they are useful, and how we take care of them. Each tooth, and its situation, is unique. It is important you listen to your dentist when he explains how a crown would benefit your tooth, and that you stay in close communication before and after the procedure in order to ensure successful treatment.
As a patient of Madison Dental Health Partners, it is important that you understand why your treatment is recommended so we can help you make the decision that’s best for you.
HOW DOES A CROWN LOOK AND FUNCTION
A crown looks and functions like a natural tooth. Metals crowns, even though their color is metallic or gold, are still shaped like natural teeth. A crown is produced in a dental laboratory and fits over the top of the tooth. This is why a tooth needs to be “prepared,” to allow space for the crown. This crown then gets permanently cemented onto the tooth.
WHEN DO WE RECOMMEND A CROWN?
A crown is often recommended in the following circumstances:
- If a tooth has a cavity that is too large for a filling
- If a tooth is cracked internally by a metal filling
- If a tooth is cracked externally by an aggressive bite or trauma
- If a tooth has been root canal treated
- If a tooth is badly discolored or poorly shaped
One common scenario is a tooth which has had a metal filling for long time. Old metal fillings have a tendency to cause internal stress which can result in fracture. Only the edges of these fractures are visible since most of the fracture extends underneath the filling. These “stress lines” progress to allow staining deep within the fracture. This staining means saliva and bacteria are able to get inside of the fracture lines putting the tooth at high risk of breaking.
In these cases, a crown protects the tooth by wrapping around and holding it together so these fractures don’t progress to breaking the tooth. Crowns play a big role in maintaining a full set of teeth over a lifetime of chewing.
HOW IS A CROWN MADE?
When a crown is custom made for a patient it will require two visits to complete.
During the first visit the tooth is prepared for a crown, which means the visible portion of the tooth is reduced slightly in all directions. An impression is taken of the “prepared” tooth so the lab can make a crown with an exact fit. A temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth in between the two appointments.
On the second visit the temporary crown is removed and the final crown gets delivered and verified for proper fit and function. This is a multi-step process which ensures the quality of the crown before it is used for eating. Some adjustments may be necessary Once the doctor and the patient are happy with the crown, it is cemented in place.
WHAT IS A CROWN MADE OF?
A crown can be made of many different materials including porcelain, metal, and gold. Most of the crowns made here at MDHP are made of porcelain or gold. Our crowns are designed and constructed by a certified master ceramist with advanced training in producing high quality, aesthetically attractive crowns.
CARING FOR YOUR CROWN
A crown gets brushed and flossed like any other natural tooth. It’s important when cleaning around a crown that you brush gently along the gum-line so you clean the border where the tooth and the crown come together.
CARING FOR YOUR TEMPORARY CROWN
Below are some tips on taking care of your temporary crown:
- Brush your temporary crown gently.
- We recommend you don’t floss around that one particular tooth while continuing to floss the rest of your teeth. If you do floss that temporary you might pull it off.
- Avoid foods that are sticky or hard (crunchy).
If you lose or break your temporary crown:
- Please call the office immediately so we can appoint you to address this issue.
- If the temporary crown is in one piece: most pharmacies carry a cement you can use to re-attach the temporary.
- If the crown is fractured and cannot be re-placed: be very gentle on that side of your mouth and DO NOT eat on that tooth until the dentist can see you.
Thank you for entrusting us with your care. We will always strive to bring you the highest quality services. Your well-informed participation during the process will ensure a comfortable and predictable outcome.
If you have any questions, please call the office at any time and we will address your need as soon as possible.