Let’s first make sure we’re talking about the same thing. As the name indicates, the crown of the tooth is the top part of the tooth, it protects the root of your tooth and enables mastication (that means chewing, nothing else). The crown is a naturally occurring structure that can be fabricated if or when your original wears down.
This fabricated crown is called a dental crown, and is used to restore teeth that have been cracked by wear and tear or trauma as well as teeth that have had root canal and large filling work done.
Crown procedure step #1
Before any crown “work” is done, your dentist will perform an examination and discuss your options for crown material.
Crowns can be made out of many different types of material, such as:
- Gold or other metal alloys
- Stainless steel
- Porcelain or ceramic
- Composite resin
Once you have made your choice, you make an appointment to have the work done.
Crown procedure step #2
The dental crown procedure should not be a painful experience. To meet that goal, your dentist numbs the tooth with local anesthesia. However, if you had root canal performed on that tooth, he or she will need to restore the tooth with a filling, otherwise the crown may not have enough tooth to stick on to.
Crown procedure step #3
Once the numbing has taken effect, your dentist will “shave down” the tooth just enough so the crown can fit squarely later on.
Crown procedure step #4
Your tooth is now ready for the “impression” that will be sent to the dental tech lab responsible for making the final crown just right. The impression may be prepared with putty or digital scanning. At this time, the dentist will also figure out the proper shade of color to match your existing teeth. Some dentists will take photos of the teeth, others will user a color guide. All that can depend on what the dental lab prefers.
Crown procedure step #5
Using the impression, your dentist will make a temporary crown with a basic resin or acrylic material and a temporary cement. This temporary crown hold up well for a month or so, plenty of time to get you to the final step.
Crown procedure step #6
Most dental tech labs require two to three weeks to complete the crown work. When the crown is ready, you’ll return to your dentist to have the permanent crown placed on the tooth. This is typically painless but if your dentists suspects any sensitivity issues, he or she can use a local numbing agent again.
Your dentist will then perform a thorough inspection of your tooth to make sure everything fits. Some adjustments can be made at this time to improve bite and smoothness if necessary. After that, the crown is attached using a permanent cement or glue.
Hopefully this rundown puts you at ease, so one day your smile will make you feel very pleased.