Dental crowns have been around for millennia and are still used to restore smiles today. Ancient dentists used ivory, bone, and seashells to make crowns for teeth. Evidence of gold crowns dates from 200 A.D. Porcelain crowns appeared in the 1800s. With the advancement of metal casting techniques in the 1900s, crown technology took a big leap forward.
A dental crown procedure consists of several steps:
Your dentist will anesthetize the tooth to be crowned and then prepare it. All decay is removed and the tooth is shaped. Usually, the dentist files off tooth structure to reduce the size and create the proper shape. Sometimes, the tooth is too small to begin with; in that case, the dentist builds up the core of the tooth with filling material to design a strong base for the crown. All-metal crowns – as opposed to porcelain crowns – have thinner sides, requiring less removal of tooth structure.
Creating a Good Impression
The dentist will use a putty-like substance to create an impression of the tooth and surrounding teeth. An impression will also be made of the teeth that oppose the crown. This ensures that the crown does not adversely impact the bite.
The Temporary Crown
A temporary crown is used to protect the tooth and be certain it doesn’t move in the mouth while the permanent crown is being produced. Patients need to be careful with their temporary crown. It is not as strong as the permanent crown and is attached only with temporary cement. Avoid chewing gum and eating sticky foods. Be aware that the tooth may be sensitive to hot and cold.
Choosing a Color
If the new crown will be created with porcelain, you and your dentist will use a shade guide to pick a shade for the restoration. Most individuals don’t have teeth that are exactly the same color. You will need to identify the best shade to blend in with the surrounding teeth.
The Lab Team Works Its Magic
The dentist or a laboratory technician then uses the model to build the crown. Some dentists have the equipment needed to create crowns right in their office. Same day restorations are created with a machine that mills a crown from a small block of ceramic in the proper shade.
Your Crown Is Put In Place
When the new crown is ready, your dentist places it in your mouth and makes any necessary modification to realize an optimal fit. This process shouldn’t be rushed. Sometimes less than a millimeter of drilling can make the difference between an ill-fitting crown that makes irregular contact with the opposing teeth and a crown that is correctly fitted.
I’m Dr. Martin Buchheit, of Chesterfield Smile Design in Chesterfield. My practice, Chesterfield Smile Design, offers Invisalign, restorative dentistry, dental implants, root canals, and porcelain veneers.
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