A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth, covering the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance. The crown, when cemented into place, fully encases the entire visible portion of a tooth. Permanent crowns can be made from all metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.
A crown may be needed in any of the following situations:
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking
- To hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn't a lot of tooth left
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth
- To cover a dental implant
A crown normally takes two visits to complete.
During the consultation visit, in preparation for a crown, Dr. Burgei or Dr. Swick may take a few x-rays to check the roots of the tooth receiving the crown and surrounding bone. If the tooth has extensive decay or if there is a risk of infection or injury to the tooth, a root canal treatment may first be performed.
After the tooth has been numbed, it is shaped along the chewing surface and sides to make room for the crown. The amount removed depends on the type of crown used (for instance, all-metal crowns are thinner, requiring less tooth structure removal than all-porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal ones). If, on the other hand, a large area of the tooth is missing (due to decay or damage), a filling material will be used to "build up" the tooth to support the crown.
After reshaping the tooth, impressions will be taken of the tooth. During this first office visit, a temporary crown is made to cover and protect the tooth while the crown is being made. The impressions are sent to a dental laboratory where the crown will be manufactured.
At your second visit, Dr. Burgei or Dr. Swick will remove your temporary crown and check the fit and color of the permanent crown. When everything is acceptable, the new crown is permanently cemented in place.