Repairing a damaged or decaying tooth with a crown is a fairly routine practice. Crowning teeth is one of the most common procedures done in the modern dental office. From the patient’s perspective, receiving a crown means repairing and protecting a tooth that might have otherwise degenerated to the point of having to be removed.
So, how does a tooth crown work? Think of it as a cap. A crown is a prosthetic device cemented over the top of the damaged tooth in question. Once in place, the crown is every bit as strong as the natural teeth surrounding it.
Why Crowns Are Installed
Dentists recommend crowns when teeth are damaged or decayed to the point of posing a risk to the patient’s oral health. For example, a patient might visit the dentist while suffering from an abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is one that is infected up into the bone. Removing the infection requires drilling into the tooth to remove the pulp and root.
With pulp and root removed, the tooth is no longer stable enough to simply be filled and left alone. Thus, a crown is installed over the top of it to provide that extra protection. Crowns are also used to protect cracked teeth. Sometimes a crown is recommended when an unusually large filling reduces the stability of a tooth.
Preparing the Tooth
A dentist prepares a tooth for a crown by removing excess material using dental drills and burs. The tooth and surrounding gum area are numbed to minimize pain. Once preparation begins, the dentist’s goal is to shape the tooth so that it is capable of receiving a crown while remaining intact. The tooth is shaped to guarantee the crown will only fit one way.
Once the tooth is properly prepared, the dentist takes an impression of the tooth using a fast-drying substance that feels a bit like clay. The impression is sent to a lab where it takes several weeks for the crown to be manufactured. In the meantime, a temporary crown is fashioned and fitted before the patient is sent home.
Contact cement is used to fasten the temporary crown in place. The crown can be dislodged rather easily, so the patient has to be careful about chewing on that side of the mouth while the temporary is in place. The permanent crown is affixed with a much stronger cement.
How does a tooth crown work following installation? It works just like a natural tooth in terms of its function. A properly installed crown allows the patient to chew normally without any worries. It is strong and reliable enough to withstand normal eating, brushing, and flossing.
If you require a crown or any other dental work, North View Dental is here to serve you. Please contact us to learn more about our comfortable and professional office. We would be more than happy to answer your questions and schedule an appointment.