Going to the dentist is scary enough but hearing that you need work done can be very daunting. You may have heard your dentist say that you need a dental crown, also known as a cap. Never fear! A crown is nothing to be scared of and if you do need one you will probably find it makes a big difference in the way you feel and how your teeth feel and function.
What is a Dental Crown?
A tooth is made up of 2 parts, the root and the crown. The root is the part of the tooth that is under the gum line and holds the tooth in place. The crown is the part of the tooth that is above the gum line; this is the part you can see when you smile or brush your teeth.
A dental crown is used to cover over the crown of a natural tooth. This can be done for many reasons, but ultimately it is used as a cover to protect the natural tooth. It will help to protect the structure of the tooth from decay and bacteria.
What is a Dental Crown Made of?
These days there are several different materials used to make a crown. The most common are porcelain and ceramic as these blend in nicely with existing teeth while providing excellent strength. Other materials used are resin, stainless steel and gold.
Reasons Why You May Need a Crown
Your dentist may suggest a crown if:
✔ Your tooth is severely decayed
✔ Your tooth has cracked and you are missing a large piece
✔ You have had root canal treatment and need additional tooth strength
✔ Acidic erosion has worn away your tooth
✔ You grind your teeth
✔ Aesthetic reasons
In some cases, you may need to have your tooth filled in to make sure there is enough structure for the crown to fit over. If you are having a crown fitted for aesthetic reasons your dentist will more than likely need to grind down the tooth to make room for the cap. Your dentist will more than likely not recommend a crown if the reason is purely for aesthetics, as your tooth needs to be ground down. Once the crown is in place you can not remove it.
What is the Procedure for Having a Crown Fitted?
The procedure for fitting a crown is done over two appointments. The first appointment is dedicated to ensuring the tooth can support a crown. Your dentist will assess your tooth and fill in or grind down any areas that need preparation.
From here your dentist will take an impression of your tooth and the surrounding teeth. This impression is sent away to a dental lab so a permanent crown can be made. At the end of your first appointment, you will have a temporary crown fitted. This will protect your tooth until your permanent crown is ready to be fitted.
At your second appointment, the temporary crown is removed and the permanent cap will be fitted. Your dentist will roughen up your tooth using a special acid. This is done to ensure the dental cement used to glue your permanent crown on has a good surface to bond on to. Once you and your dentist are happy with how the tooth looks, the crown will be cemented into place.
It is important that you continue to brush and floss your teeth as normal. You will also need to ensure you make an appointment for your 6 month check up. Your dentist will regularly check your crown to make sure it is not leaking and bacteria is has no access to your natural tooth.
Your crown may take a bit of getting used to after it has been fitted. This is normal but after a while you will get used to the feel. Your crowned tooth should function and feel like a normal tooth. If you think there is anything wrong with your crown or you have any questions, make sure you speak to your dentist as soon as possible.
Think you might need a dental crown? Give us a call on (02) 8999 5128 to set up an appointment and have one of our expert dental staff help you out!