A Guide To Dental Crowns

If your dentist has suggested that you need a dental crown, then you might be a bit uneasy. After all, few people enjoy dental work, especially if they don't fully understand what's going on in their mouth. To help make you a bit more comfortable with the prospect, here is an overview of how dental crowns work and exactly how they are installed:

First of all, what is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a hard cap that is placed on top of your tooth for protection and even aesthetic purposes. If a tooth has sustained too much damage or has just gone through serious  surgery (such as a root canal), then a filling might not be big enough to actually repair the damage. In such a case, a crown is often the best option.

Crowns can be made of several different materials, including porcelain, metal, and resin. The main differences between these materials are cost, appearance, and durability.

  • Ceramic and porcelain crowns will often appear almost invisible, blending in with the surrounding teeth quite well, but they are susceptible to staining and can cost more.
  • Metals tend to be very durable and don't cost a ton, but they are extremely visible. If you aren't too concerned with the appearance of your crown, such as if the crown is on a tooth near the back of your mouth, then metal is a great choice.
  • Resin crowns will be very cheap and easy to install, but will wear down faster than your other options. If you need to get a crown right now, yet don't have the financial means to get a longer-lasting option, then resin can protect your teeth until you can afford an upgrade.

So how are crowns installed?

There are two main steps involved in the installation of a crown. On your first visit, your tooth will be prepared and likely fitted with a temporary crown. On the second visit, a permanent crown will be installed.

To elaborate, preparing the site usually involves filing down the tooth in order to make the crown fit as snugly as possible. If there is any infected tissue present, then an extensive cleaning may be needed. If that infected tissue is allowed to sit inside the tooth after the crown is placed, then the entire tooth could be compromised from within.

At this point, your dentist will have taken a variety of measurements of your tooth. These measurements will be sent to a facility where a custom crown will be made to your specifications. However, it takes several weeks or months for such a crown to be made and sent to your dentist, so you will need a way to protect your teeth in the meantime. Temporary crowns are often used, and while they aren't as comfortable as the final product will be, they will prevent any infection of your tooth.

The installation of the final crown will only take a few minutes and will generally not involve any surgery that you need to worry about. Once the crown is in place, then you should make sure that everything fits comfortably. If it does not, then it can get even more uncomfortable over time and could even damage the tooth.