Over time, our teeth begin to weaken and become more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks, discoloration and wear. If you feel that your smile isn’t what it once was, crowns can help you recover your smile. If your dentist notices that a tooth is decayed or seems weakened/cracked, a crown may be necessary to make sure that there are no additional problems with the tooth. In cases like this, a filling or bonding will not be sufficient. Crowns can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, zirconia, or a full gold crown. A consultation with the dentist is the first step to determine what would be the best option for your particular needs.
The process of a crown takes two visits to the dentist. On the first visit, the tooth will be reshaped by filing down the enamel so that the crown can be placed over it. You will be given a local anesthetic so that you do not experience any discomfort. Sometimes, if the tooth was broken or the inside of the tooth was compromised, a new filing will be put in to ensure a solid foundation for the crown to sit on. This is called a build up. Once the tooth has been reshaped, an impression will be taken of that tooth and surrounding teeth. This impression will be sent to a dental lab so that your new custom crown can be made. Before leaving the dental office, we will fit you with a temporary crown until your permanent crown is ready.
The crown takes one week to be returned to your dentist. At this time, you will have another appointment to place and fit the permanent crown. You will again have the local anesthetic to numb the area, and the crown will be placed using a cement to ensure that it sets in place. When you look in the mirror, you will see your old smile back. Crowns are durable and will usually last about 10-15 years. You should care for it as you would for your other teeth with regular brushing and flossing.