A crown (referred to by some as a ‘cap’) is a tooth-shaped cover placed over a tooth that is broken, cracked, fractured, worn or decayed. Crowns are necessary to protect teeth that have fillings that make up too much of the tooth. A crown is also useful in saving a cracked or fractured tooth (assuming the crack does not extend below the gum line) and used to hold a bridge in place. For esthetic reasons, crowns can improve the appearance of a smile, covering misshapen or discolored teeth.
Crowns are made from various materials; some being stronger and more appropriate for back teeth. Front teeth or those visible in your smile are typically made of porcelain, giving a beautifully natural appearance and even reflecting light as a natural tooth.
To place a crown, a portion of the natural tooth is reshaped to allow the crown to cover it. After the tooth is reshaped, you are fitted with a temporary crown to wear while a dental lab constructs your permanent crown. This temporary will look and feel comfortable during this brief time, which typically is a couple of weeks.
Temporary crowns are not designed to last for a long time and the adhesive used to hold them in place is designed so the temporary crown dislodges easily when it is time for the final crown’s placement.
Once the dental lab has created your final crown to our specifications of shade, shape and size, you’ll return to have the temporary replaced with your final crown. This process is less involved than when preparing the tooth. The final crown is secured with a dental adhesive that secures a durable, strong and beautiful tooth.
After your final crown is placed, it will be polished and your bite is checked. This ensures the restored tooth fits properly with adjacent teeth. If needed, some gentle filing may be performed so the crown connects correctly with other teeth in your mouth.
For teeth most visible in a smile, crown lengthening procedures may be suggested to provide a more attractive gum line. This reveals a proper amount of tooth when smiling. It also gives an even, natural gum line over teeth for a balanced, attractive appearance in a smile.
During crown lengthening, we typically use a laser to remove excess gum and bone tissue to expose the proper amount of each tooth. A dental laser is an exceptional tooth for this as it seals remaining gum tissue as it removes the excess. This eliminates bleeding and speeds the healing process.
Crown lengthening procedures give a beautiful smile that is flattering to your overall facial features. This is especially true for people who have a “gummy smile,” when too much gum tissue is revealed above teeth in a full smile.
Although sensitivity after a crown is placed is rare, a tooth with its natural nerve center may initially be sensitive to cold. If this sensitivity continues for a month or more or becomes painful when biting down, you may need another bite adjustment.
In some cases, a root canal is necessary. Should this be needed, today’s root canals are highly comfortable and less involved than those joked about in the past. With today’s techniques and technology, root canals are surprisingly simple procedures.
Remember, although a crowned tooth is protected from decay, the gums surrounding it are not. To keep your gums healthy, we often suggest a high-fluoride gel to use each night. Additionally, a crown does not protect you from gum disease. Be highly committed to a thorough oral hygiene regime at home, including daily flossing.
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