The steps involved in preparing a tooth for a crown
Preparing a tooth for a crown usually requires three visits to the dentist. The first step involves examination and discussion of the options and costs.The second preparing the tooth. The third visit involves placement of the permanent crown.
Examining and discussion of the different types or crowns, their pros and cons and the different costs involved.
At the first or second visit in preparation for a crown, our dentist may take a few X-rays to check the roots of the tooth receiving the crown and surrounding bone. If the tooth has extensive decay or if there is a risk of infection or injury to the tooth’s pulp, and root canal treatment may first be performed in order to gain retention for the crown or prevent further infection.
Before the process of making a crown begins, your dentist will anaesthetise (numb) the tooth and the gum tissue around the tooth.
Next, the tooth receiving the crown is filed down along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown.
The amount removed depends on the type of crown used (for instance, all-metal crowns are thinner and require less tooth structure removal than all-porcelain (non zirconium) or porcelain fused to metal ones).
If, on the other hand, a large area of the tooth is missing (due to decay or damage), our dentist will use filling material to “build up” the tooth to support the crown.
After reshaping the tooth, your dentist will use a paste or putty to make an impression of the tooth to receive the crown.
Impressions of the teeth above and below the tooth to receive the dental crown will also be made to make sure that the crown will not affect your bite.
The impressions are sent to a dental lab where the crown will be manufactured.
The crown is usually returned to the dental surgery in one week (two weeks for zirconium crowns as they need to go to dental laboratories).
If the crown is made of porcelain, we will also select the shade that most closely matches the colour of the neighbouring teeth.
During this second visit we may make a temporary crown to cover and protect the prepared tooth while the crown is being made.
Temporary crowns usually are made of acrylic and are held in place using a temporary cement.
At the third visit, we will remove the temporary crown and check the fit and colour of the permanent crown. If everything is acceptable, a local anaesthetic may be used to numb the tooth and the new crown is permanently cemented in place. If possible we try not to use anaesthesia as we can check the colour and aesthetics better and you maintain your full feeling so we can ensure the bite it as close as possible.
Caring for my temporary crown
Because temporary dental crowns are just that, a temporary fix until a permanent crown is ready, we suggest that a few precautions. These include:
Avoid sticky, chewy foods (for example, chewing gum, caramel), which have the potential of grabbing and pulling off the crown.
Minimise use of the side of your mouth with the temporary crown. Shift the bulk of your chewing to the other side of the mouth.
Avoid chewing hard foods (such as raw vegetables), which could dislodge or break the crown.
Slide flossing material out-rather than lifting out-when cleaning your teeth. Lifting the floss out, as you normally would, might pull off the temporary crown.
Problems that can develop with a dental crown
Your newly crowned tooth may be sensitive immediately after the procedure as the anaesthesia begins to wear off. If the tooth that has been crowned still has a nerve in it, you may experience some heat and cold sensitivity. We usually recommend that you brush teeth with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
Pain or sensitivity that occurs when you bite down usually means that the crown is too high on the tooth. If this is the case, ring the surgery, we can easily fix the problem.
Crowns made of all porcelain can sometimes chip. If the chip is small, a composite resin can be used to repair the chip with the crown remaining in your mouth. If the chipping is extensive, the crown may need to be replaced.
Sometimes the cement washes out from under the crown. Not only does this allow the crown to become loose, it allows bacteria to leak in and cause decay to the tooth that remains. If you have a crown and it feels loose, please schedule a Dental Visit.
Sometimes crowns fall off. If this happens, clean the crown and the front of the tooth. You can replace the crown temporarily using dental adhesive or temporary tooth cement that is sold in stores for this purpose.
Contact us immediately as a long delay may allow decay to begin, adjacent teeth to move, opposing teeth to move or an infection to start. We may be able to re-cement the crown in place; if not, a new crown will need to be made.
Because the metals used to make crowns are usually a mixture of metals, an allergic reaction to the metals or porcelain used in crowns can occur, but this is extremely rare.
Dark line on crowned tooth next to the gum line.
A dark line next to the gum line of your crowned tooth is normal, particularly if you have a porcelain fused to metal crown. This dark line is simply the metal of the crown showing through.
On average, dental crowns last between 5 and 15 years., however there are no guarantee’s on life expectancy of the crown.
The life span of a crown depends on the amount of “wear and tear” the crown is exposed to, how well you follow good oral hygiene practices, and your personal mouth-related habits (you should avoid such habits as grinding or clenching your teeth, chewing ice, biting fingernails, and using your teeth to open packaging).
While a crowned tooth does not require any special care, remember that simply because a tooth is crowned does not mean the underlying tooth is protected from decay or gum disease.
Therefore, continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day, especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth. Antibacterial mouth rinse can also help.
Costs of crowns vary depending on the type of crown used and your insurance plan coverage