A crown is basically a tooth-shaped cover placed over a tooth that is badly damaged or decayed. It’s also referred to as a cap. Crowns are a restorative dentistry treatment that are placed when a tooth is so damaged or badly broken that a filling won’t be strong enough to protect the tooth from fracture. They can also be used to changes the position of a misaligned tooth.
West Hill Family Dental Crowns & Caps
Dental Crown Anatomy
Dental crowns are made to order in a dental lab. Crowns can be made of:
- Porcelain fused to metal (PFM)
- Porcelain fused to zirconia
Metal materials can include gold alloy, other alloys (palladium) or a base-metal alloy like nickel or chromium. Each material has its advantages. Dr. Hemphill will choose the best material to meet the needs of your teeth.
Dental Crown Procedure
Dental crowns are a two visit procedure. Your first visit will consist of removing any and all decay, filling the space made with a build up material, preparing your tooth to receive a crown.. You will be numb for this appointment so make sure you have had a good meal before coming to our office for this procedure. After the crown preparation, Dr. Hemphill will use a piece of dental thread to push the gum away from your tooth. He will then make an impression copy of the tooth. The impression material sets in about four minutes. Impressions of the teeth above and below the tooth will be made as well to ensure the crown will fit into your normal bite. The impressions are sent to the lab where your crown is made. You will then be fitted with a temporary crown. Temporary cement is used to keep the crown in place. You’ll receive a temporary crown on the first visit and wear it while your permanent crown is being made.
When your permanent crown is ready you’ll return to the office and get the temporary crown removed. The new permanent crown will be tried in to make sure it fits properly all the way around your tooth. Dr. Hemphill will customize the crown to make sure it fits perfectly into your bite. Your crown will then be permanently cemented onto your tooth. Generally, you won’t need to be numb for the second appointment.
You shouldn’t feel any discomfort after a crown is placed. However, if your tooth has not had a root canal, it will still contain the nerve. Some temporary sensitivity to cold may be noticed. If you feel pain or sensitivity when you bite down, you should contact the dental office. This typically means the crown is too high, and just needs a small adjustment. Crowned teeth are protected from decay except for the margin of the crown. This is why it is important to brush your crown even though they aren’t made by you. A crown will not protect you against gum disease, and you should treat the tooth as if it were a normal tooth when it comes to regular daily dental care. Crowns, especially all-porcelain ones, can chip. If your crown chips it can sometimes be repaired in your mouth like a normal tooth. Dr. Hemphill will etch the porcelain with a special agent and then bond a composite resin to repair the chip. Sometimes the chip cannot be repaired and the tooth needs a new crown.
What if My Crown Falls Out?
Crowns sometimes fall out. It’s usually caused by recurrent decay causing the crown to loosen over time and ultimately dislodge. The crown can also fall off because of washed-out cement due to an improper fit. If your crown falls off, place the crown in a secure plastic bag and bring it to the dental office. Most of the time a new crown will need to be made, but the old crown can be used as a temporary. If you are in no pain and your appearance is not affected do not put the crown back into your mouth. Make sure to call the office and come see Dr. Hemphill as soon as possible. If the crown fit is good and the tooth looks good without any decay present, Dr. Hemphill will dry off your tooth and re-cement the crown in place.