The purpose of a crown is to improve the function, strength, and appearance of otherwise unhealthy or malformed teeth. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials that are chosen depending on where the tooth is located in your mouth, if you can see the tooth when you smile and whether or not the patient clenches or grinds. For example, full gold crowns are stronger, but not aesthetically pleasing; porcelain crowns are not as resistant to wear but look better. There are now newer options that are strong but also esthetic. It is important to consult with your dentist about which material will work best for you.
What can I expect on appointment day?
When you make an appointment to get a crown, the tooth will be prepared in a way that considers aesthetics and function. You and your dentist will then choose a color based on the color of the adjacent teeth unless you and your dentist decide to use gold (typically used for the last tooth in the mouth). After that, an impression is made and sent off to a lab right here in Tulsa where they custom makes the crown to fit your mouth. While this process is taking place you will go home wearing a temporary, or provisional, crown. When the crown comes back from the lab, your dentist will try it in and make all necessary adjustments; you approve of the color at that time and if all goes as planned, the crown gets cemented with permanent cement.
How do I take care of my crowns?
Just because you have a crown doesn’t mean you don’t have to brush that tooth. If not taken care of properly, the crown can leak and require replacement. This may take a few years to occur, but there are multiple steps you can take to avoid getting decay around your crown. The first thing you can do at home is to brush and floss regularly. Brushing won’t get any of the plaque that accumulates below your gumline, so flossing is especially important around crowns. To prevent damaging your new crown, a nightguard can be fabricated to prevent clenching and grinding at nighttime. Avoiding hard foods and chewing ice can also contribute to the longevity of your crown. It’s important to visit your dentist every 6 months so that she can check the margins to make sure the integrity is still good.
What is a buildup?
“Buildup” is the term used for the filling placed underneath a crown. On the day of preparation, when the decay is removed, the buildup restores the shape of the tooth in order to maintain retention of the temporary and final crowns. Not every crown requires a buildup, but it is typical treatment planned so that there aren’t any surprise costs on preparation day.
Do I have to be numbed for a crown?
Typically a tooth has to be numbed before preparation. Even If the tooth has a root canal, the gums will have to be numbed in order to obtain a good impression of the prepared tooth.
What is a bridge?
A bridge is a cemented prosthesis that is used to replace a missing tooth. It can be supported by your natural teeth or by dental implants. Crowns are prepped on either side of the space where the tooth is missing and the bridge is made with two crowns and a “fake” tooth in the middle. The bridge is cemented in with the idea that no one will be able to tell that a tooth is missing and your chewing habits can return to normal!