A dental crown is another name for a cap or a cover that is placed over an existing tooth or dental implant. There are many reasons why you may need a dental crown installed:
- As part of a dental implant
- Excessive wear and tear over time leading to smaller softer teeth
- Restore a broken tooth to its original size and strength
- For a cavity that's too large for a filling or to cover a tooth that has a filling
- Protect a weakened tooth
- To improve appearance
- To protect a recent root canal treatment
There are typically two visits involved when preparing a crown. The first visit may involve taking X-rays to examine the roots of the tooth. If everything looks okay the dentist will then numb the tooth and reshape it as needed to fit the incoming crown. The dentist may also fill the tooth if needed to build it up and support the crown.
Once this is done, the dentist will create an impression of the tooth with paste, putty, or a digital scanner. The impression is then sent to a lab to be made into a crown that is perfectly fitted for your tooth. At this point, the doctor will install a temporary crown as the real one may take a few weeks to be created. On your second visit, the dentist will remove your temporary crown and install your new custom fitted permanent crown.
While you have your temporary crown there are a few things you should consider:
- Be extra careful when flossing around your temporary crown
- Try to avoid chewing on that side as much as possible
- Avoid all sticky or chewy foods like chewing gum and caramel
- Avoid hard foods
Once your permanent crown is installed you won’t have to be as careful and it won’t require any special care to maintain. The average crown will last anywhere from five to 15 years depending on the amount of wear and tear it endures. It is good practice to be mindful of your crown in order to get the longest life possible out of it. Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth often, chewing on ice or hard candy, sticky foods like taffy or caramel, and popcorn. Avoiding these is not mandatory, but will provide greater longevity for your new permanent crown.