EAST LONGMEADOW, NORTHAMPTON AND AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS – At some point in your life, you may need a dental crown. Knowing the creation process can prepare you for the procedure. A dental crown (“cap”) is a dental prosthesis that is placed over a tooth to restore the shape, strength or to improve appearance. “There are different reasons for needing a dental crown,” says Amherst dentistry professional Dr. Vincent J. Mariano. “A consultation will help the dentist pinpoint the reason.” Dr. Mariano as a prosthodontic dentistry specialist of Amherst explains a few situations for needing a dental crown:
- Weak teeth that are not stable enough for Lumineers or porcelain veneers
- Restoring broken or worn down teeth
- Covering a tooth with a large filling for support
- To anchor a dental bridge
- Severely discolored teeth that don’t respond to teeth whitening procedures
- To cover a dental implant
The creation of a dental crown typically takes two visits.
The First Appointment
The first appointment in the process of getting a dental crown involves shaping, or preparing, the tooth, taking an impression and constructing a temporary crown. Before this process begins, the tooth and surrounding tissues need to be anesthetized with local anesthetic to make the process comfortable and pain-free.
Once the anesthesia takes effect, the tooth is prepared to accommodate the crown. Reducing the size of your tooth allows the crown to slip on with ease. Next, an impression is made of your teeth. A temporary crown is created in the office from this impression. The impression is then sent to a dental laboratory, and a plaster cast of your mouth is created.
A temporary crown is placed on the tooth while the permanent crown is being made. Typically, this process takes two weeks. The final step of the first appointment is deciding the type of crown you want. The crowns are usually made from gold, porcelain-fused-to-gold, resin or the new generation of all ceramic crowns.
The Second Appointment
Before the prosthodontist seats the permanent crown, he needs to make sure that it fits and is aesthetically acceptable. The temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is fitted and cemented.
The inspection process includes the use of floss to make sure that all sides contact the other teeth properly. The contact paper is then used to see how the teeth meet when you bite down with the opposing dentition. Typically, the paper is red on one side, and blue on the other. Solid contact with opposing teeth is the goal.
After you and the dentist agree on the fit, the crown is cemented. Once the cement sets, the dentist removes any excess that may have exited the crown around the gumline.
Once you are complete with the entire process, a dental assistant will go over any precautions that you should take. Any questions you may have can also be answered at this time. For the first day you may want to chew and function cautiously until you are comfortable with your new crowned tooth.
Most crowns will last 10 years or more depending on each individual’s maintenance schedule and oral environment.
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