What is a crown exactly?
A crown is a dental restoration that completely covers, or “caps” a tooth. There are many materials that can be used to fabricate a crown. Typically you will see one of three types:
Metal alloy restorations – these are usually gold mixed with a combination of other elements, including platinum, palladium, silver, copper and tin.
Porcelain-fused-to-metal restorations – here, a thin sheet of porcelain is fused to a metal base to fabricate the crown. This gives the strength of a metal restoration but allows your dentist to shade-match the porcelain to the surrounding teeth, achieving a more natural look.
Non-metal restorations – with the advent of new technology, these crowns are quickly growing in popularity, and are the ones we most commonly place in our practice. This crown is fabricated entirely from non-metal materials such as Alumina, Leucite, Zirconia and Porcelain. Our preferred choice for the best in natural appearance, longevity and functionality is a fully porcelain, custom fabricated crown.
When do I need a crown?
Most commonly, crowns are necessary when decay has caused so much damage to the tooth that not enough natural structure remains for it to survive on its own. The crown then replaces the decayed area and provides protection for the remaining natural tooth. Root canal therapy on posterior teeth is often finished by placing a crown: many times these teeth are too weak after therapy and need the protection of a crown. Implants will also need to be restored using crowns. Crowns can also be a cosmetic option, used to change the appearance of a person’s tooth when other aesthetic options are financially or dentally undesirable.
What does getting a crown entail?
In our office, you’re looking at a two appointment process. The first appointment runs approximately 30-60 minutes. Here the doctor will first remove all the decay and offending tooth structure to prepare the tooth for the coming crown. We’ll then take a series of impressions and bite registrations so the lab knows exactly the shape of the crown needed. We’ll also pick a shade at this appointment to match your natural teeth as best as possible. As with any restorations, if you are interested in whitening, you’ll want to achieve your desired shade before the crown is fabricated. Finally, the doctor will make you a temporary crown to protect the work that’s been done this visit. This is affixed with just enough cement to let you function while the permanent crown is being made, so treat it gently!
The second appointment is where the doctor will deliver and cement your final crown. We’ll check the fit, the shade match and your bite; once doctor is convinced everything is perfect, the crown will be cemented into place and you’ll be on your way. This appointment is much quicker, typically about 30 minutes.