A tooth can lose its normal shape and size for a variety of reasons. A crown, sometimes called a cap, covers your tooth to help restore its original form and size. Crowns can also be used to make teeth stronger and look better.
Crowns have a variety of uses. Some reasons you may need a crown:
- A cavity that is too large for a standard filling – a crown may be used alone or in conjunction with a filling to strengthen the remaining tooth
- A tooth that is cracked or weakened – a crown can be placed over the remaining tooth structure to strengthen it after the damage is removed or repaired
- A root canal treatment – the restored tooth will be protected by a crown
- Discolored or misshapen tooth – a crown can cover the tooth and improve the aesthetics of your smile
Crowns can be made of many different materials, much like fillings are. Common materials include metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, metal-fused porcelain, and composite resin. Generally, crowns are intended to look as much like your surrounding natural teeth as possible, so the material will be colored to match. Dr. Dogra will choose what material to use based on several factors, such as where the crown will be placed, how much of the tooth will show when you smile, the color of the surrounding teeth, and your preference for a particular material.
Having a crown placed is a multi-step process and typically takes two visits to complete. First, Dr. Dogra will remove any decay as well as the outer portion of your tooth so that the crown will fit over it. If he needs to remove a large part of the core of the tooth, he may also fill it so the tooth is stable and supported. Next, we will make an impression of the remaining tooth material and the teeth around it. This impression ensures a proper fit that will be comfortable and natural-looking. Third, a temporary crown may be placed to avoid damaging the tooth while your personalized crown is prepared. Crowns usually take about two weeks or less to get back. Lastly, once your permanent crown is ready, we’ll have you come in for a second appointment so Dr. Dogra can place it and make any necessary adjustments. Once both you and the dentist are happy with it, he will cement it in place.
Caring for your new crown is similar to caring for your natural teeth. Crowns are still breakable, just like real teeth, and cavities can still form in the remaining tooth material under the crown. It is crucial that you follow a preventative oral hygiene routine that includes brushing your teeth at least twice per day for 2 minutes each time, and flossing at least once per day. We recommend that you avoid chewing sticky or hard foods like gummy candies, dried fruits, and ice, and this is especially true while you have a temporary crown. Temporary crowns are not cemented permanently, and can readily come loose. Also, avoid chewing hard objects like pens and pencils as these can damage your crown as well. As always, make sure to schedule your regular dental exams so Dr. Dogra can keep your new smile in tip-top shape.
If you have questions about crowns or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our office at (916) 736-2801.