A crown is thin, hard covering for the entire outside surface of a tooth. Crowns may be used to improve the appearance of permanently stained or poorly shaped teeth. They can help to strengthen a tooth that is composed largely of dental filling material or that has had a root canal. In addition, they may also be used to build up a tooth that has been broken and to replace missing tooth structure.
Crowns can be made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or of solid metal such as gold. Different materials may be recommended depending on where your crown would be placed.
A crown generally takes two appointments to complete.
Appointment #1: The first appointment is used to numb the tooth and remove a small amount 1.5 – 2 mm from all outside surfaces of your tooth, so that enough room is made for the material of the crown to cover, but not interfere with the shape and size of your final tooth. Impressions are then made to allow a dental laboratory technician to fabricate the final crown. A temporary crown is made out of an acrylic or plastic material to cover your tooth during the time it takes to make the final crown. This first appointment generally takes about 90 minutes.
Appointment #2: At the second appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the final crown is checked for fit and appropriate color and contour. Adjustments generally need to be made to the crown to allow proper fit and biting comfort. If at this time, the look or fit of the crown is less than desirable, it may be decided that the crown should be sent back for adjustment or to be remade. This decision is made at the discretion or your dentist or due to patient concern. However, so long as the crown seems appropriate, it is then cemented with permanent cement...and your crown is finished! This appointment should take about 30 – 45 minutes.
** Caution should be taken in between your first and second appointments with the temporary crown, as it may break with hard foods such as peanuts or hard candy. Temporary crowns can also be dislodged with sticky foods such as taffy or gum, since only temporary cement is used to hold it on. **