Dental crowns are a valuable resource for general dentists in instances of necessary repair. This type of restoration has been common in dentistry for many decades. Over time, the materials and techniques used to restore badly damaged teeth have improved, which has led to numerous benefits for our patients. We are proud to offer all-porcelain crowns in our Miami and Pembroke Pines offices.
What is a dental crown?
Dental crowns used to be referred to as “caps” due to their nature of fitting over a tooth. This restorative cover replicates the natural tooth structure so, when the final product is in place, it fits nicely in with the smile, with surrounding teeth, and against the opposing tooth to support functional chewing. The fitted porcelain crown sits over natural tooth structure that has been substantially reduced. When cemented over that structure, the crown will fit all the way to the gum line.
Why would I need a dental crown?
Crowns are widely used as a restorative option when more serious damage has occurred. Specific instances that may benefit from crown treatment include:
- A tooth has been broken or fractured. Even small chips off a tooth create susceptibility to further damage. A crown can prevent this from happening.
- Root canal therapy has been performed. The value of root canal therapy is that it preserves natural tooth structure. However, a side effect of this procedure is that the crown of the treated tooth can become brittle. Placing a crown over the tooth, rather than a filling, reduces the risk of a future break.
- Cosmetic inconsistency. In many cases, cosmetic concerns such as stains or odd shape can be corrected with porcelain veneers. In some situations, the best approach is to cover the entire tooth, not just the front surface.
Dental Crown Process
The full crown process occurs over two dental visits.
Exam and Preparation
The need for a dental crown is confirmed by a thorough exam, possibly including x-rays, to assess the extent of damage from decay or other problem. If x-rays reveal infection in the pulp tissue of the tooth, a root canal may be needed prior to the placement of a final crown. If root canal therapy is not necessary, the tooth can be prepared for its crown.
Preparation for a crown involves the removal of decayed or damaged tooth matter. We do this after the tooth nerves and gum tissue have been anesthetized. In addition to removing enamel and other tissue that has sustained damage, we may also shape the tooth in a manner that allows the crown to fit properly and comfortably over what remains. In some cases, such as a severe break, the tooth may need to be “built up” with filling material in order to support a crown. The method that is needed for your crown treatment will be explained before we begin restorative work.
After the tooth is reduced, an impression is taken to create a model for your final crown. This is a comfortable process in which a small mold with putty-like material is placed over the tooth. You will gently bite down on the mold while the putty sets.
The final step of this initial visit involves the placement of a temporary crown. This tooth-colored restoration will be worn to prevent sensitivity and damage until your final all-porcelain crown has been returned to our office from the dental lab. This usually takes 10 to 14 days.
Final Crown Placement
Approximately two weeks after the initial visit, you will return to our office for the removal of your temporary and placement of your final porcelain crown. It may be possible to complete this appointment without local anesthetic. Minor cleaning will need to be done to remove any cement that has adhered to your tooth. Once the tooth is clean and the porcelain crown has been perfected to fit and bite, we will cement it into place.
What is the advantage of a porcelain crown?
Porcelain crowns are often praised for their lifelike appearance and durability. However, this may not be their greatest advantage. One of the main reasons why dentists appreciate porcelain crowns is that this restoration, unlike metal, does not impede our ability to see “into” the tooth with x-ray imaging. Metal crowns are completely opaque, which hides what is beneath.
How do I take care of my crowns?
When you have a dental crown, it is vital that you continue to brush and floss as your dentist recommends. Flossing is a must if you wish to prevent gum disease and decay around the base of a crown. Additionally, you may also want to use an interdental cleaner to remove plaque around the gumline. With good home care and regular checkups and cleanings, your all-porcelain crown can last up to 15 years.
We are happy to help you enjoy lifelong oral health. Call our Pembroke Pines or Miami office to schedule your visit.