Dental Crowns: When Filling a Cavity Isn’t Enough

A dental crown is simply a cap that is placed over a tooth. Dental crowns cover the entire surface of the tooth that is visible above the gum line.  Dental crowns are used when cavities are too large to be filled with normal filling processes. Crowns are also used following a root canal, a complex process which removes dental decay and effected areas of tooth pulp. Dental crowns may also be used to cover a cracked, worn, discolored or misshapen tooth.

Getting a crown: the process

Dental crowns can be fashioned from metal alloys, ceramic, porcelain or composite resin. Dental crowns are often created to match the natural color of your effected tooth. If you need a crown, your dentist will help you determine the best dental crown material to suit your budget, the tooth’s location, your gum health, the color of your tooth and how the tooth impacts your smile.

The dental crown process usually requires at least two visits to your dentist’s office.  During the first visit, your dentist will numb the area with a dental injection to minimize any discomfort, then clean the area and remove any decay that is present.  Your affected tooth’s enamel will also be removed. An impression will be made of the area to provide a guide for the creation of the crown. Impressions can be made from a physical mold, or some dentists use digital scanning instead.

You will probably receive a temporary crown to protect the impacted area while you wait for your permanent crown to be manufactured. Some dentists have the ability to get your new crown the same day, but the traditional crown creation process can take up to two weeks, depending on your dentist, where you live and your dentist’s processes. While the temporary crown is in place, it is important to avoid drinks and foods that are too hot or too cold, as these can cause discomfort. It is also important to avoid sticky foods and gum that can displace the temporary crown.

When the permanent crown is ready, your dentist will place it in your mouth to ensure a proper fit. Slight adjustments such as filing rough edges may be needed. Then your dentist cements your crown in place with a dental adhesive.

After the crown: taking care of your teeth

After your permanent crown has been placed, you can enjoy most of your favorite food and drinks. But it is important to continue schedule regular dental checkups to ensure good ongoing dental health.  Crowns can crack and break, and some patients can experience decay in the area.  Brush your teeth and floss twice a day.  Don’t chew on hard items like ice, hard candies, pencils or other hard foods, as these can damage your crown – especially if you have a porcelain crown.  Regular dental visits can help you avoid future problems.

Does the thought of a dental crown give you anxiety? Are you nervous about the dental injections that go along with dental work like this?  Did you know that many dentists now use a tool called DentalVibe that completely eliminates the pain and discomfort of dental shots?  Tooth crowns and dental work aren’t fun for anyway, but modern dental practices use tools like DentalVibe to ensure that patients are as comfortable as possible during the process.  Talk to your dentist about DentalVibe, and don’t put off needed oral care.  With comfort-focused tools like DentalVibe, you’ll be smiling in no time!

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