Are You Ready For Your New Dental Crown?

When a tooth needs stability, a crown may be the answer. Also called a cap, a crown fits over a natural tooth that is judged too weak to stand on its own. A crown can often follow a root canal, but it may be necessary in other situations. For a crown to fit well and do the job, some preparation is needed before the final placement. Read on and find out more about dental crowns.

Natural Tooth Preparations

The prep work begins with your natural tooth. In many cases, your tooth is fragile and must be gently shaped so that the crown can adhere to it properly. Nearly nothing is as vital to a successful crown process as fit. That means the crown, when complete, fits as snugly against your gum as possible, with no gaps that would allow bacteria to enter. Bacteria can cause decay on what is left of your natural tooth, but it can also create a dangerous infection in your gums that could destroy your jawbone. This part of the process calls for a bit of numbing medicine for your comfort.

Making An Impression

With fit being so important, your bite is a key component. Your bite is traditionally measured using impression material. Here is what to expect with this method:

  1. Your dentist may gently retract your gums so that the impression material can be properly spread to your gum line.
  2. A base coat of protectant is spread followed by a coat of impression material contained in a dental tray. That material has a wax-like consistency.
  3. Expect to wait a while while the impression stiffens. This part can be a bit uncomfortable, but it is a necessary part of the process.

Some dental offices have eliminated the messy and time-consuming traditional impression process using tiny cameras that measure your bite precisely and in seconds.

A Temporary Solution

Your reshaped natural tooth may be both unattractive and vulnerable to breakage if left alone. Since the impression has to be sent away to a dental lab for a few days, your dentist will fit your tooth with a temporary crown. This temporary crown is made from quick-set resin material and will, at first glance, look natural. The impression for the permanent crown may be used to create the temporary crown, and the tooth is carefully shaded to match your other teeth. The crown is attached using dental cement and should remain in place till your permanent crown is ready.

Once you are home, be sure to heed your dentist's warnings about eating and caring for the temporary crown. In a few days, you will return for the removal of the temporary crown and the placement of the permanent one. Speak to your dentist to find out more.