What is a dental crown?

A crown is a dental restoration that covers or “caps” a tooth to restore it to its normal shape, size, and function. Its purpose is to strengthen or improve the appearance of a tooth. A crown can:

  • Restore a tooth when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to provide support for a large filling
  • Attach a bridge to replace the missing teeth
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Cover a badly shaped or discolored tooth
  • Cover a dental implant

What is it made from?

The look and function of a crown are considered when choosing the material most suitable for you. Your dentist will consider the tooth location, the position of the gum tissue, the amount of tooth that shows when you smile, the color or shade of the tooth and the function of the tooth.

Full porcelain fused to metal

Full ceramic crown

Full cast metal alloy crown

Crowns are made from several types of materials. Metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, composite resin, or combinations of these materials may be used. In the process of making a crown, the material often is colored to blend in with your natural teeth.

Dr. Medina wants to create a crown that looks natural and feels comfortable. To achieve that, several factors are considered including the color, occlusion or “bite,” the shape and length of your natural teeth and your artificial crown.

How is a crown placed?

Several steps are involved and two dental visits generally are needed to complete the treatment. The dentist prepares the tooth by removing its outer portion to accommodate the thickness of the crown. If additional tooth structure is needed to support the crown, the dentist may build up the core of the tooth.

An impression is made to provide an exact model of the prepared tooth. Your dentist or the laboratory technician (following the dentist’s written instructions), then uses the model to help develop the shape and size of the crown.

A temporary cap is placed while the final crown is made. When the crown is ready, the dentist puts it in place and makes the necessary adjustments. When you and your dentist are satisfied with how it looks and feels the crown is cemented in place.

Before crown: Worn filling with decay and broken cusp

Crown positioned over prepared tooth

After crown placement

Caring for your teeth

To prevent damage to a crown, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects, such as pencils. This is especially important for tooth-colored crowns. Brush twice a day and floss or use an interdental cleaner once a day to remove plaque, a sticky film of bacteria. And see your dentist for regular examinations and professional teeth cleaning.

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