A dental crown is a tooth-like “cap” that covers a damaged tooth to restore its shape, color, size and strength. Dental crowns are used when the tooth cracks, breaks, or has decay that is too large for a filling to fix. They are also used when covering up a dental implant, so the chewing surface can be functional.
There are numerous benefits that a crown can provide. It can restore a missing chewing surface or fill in an empty space. Additionally, crowns can benefit a patient if they are having pain or sensitivity from a broken tooth or stress fracture. Covering up these areas of damaged tooth structure not only restores the missing components, but also protects the interior layers of tooth that have been become exposed and are likely are causing sensitivity and pain. Crowns can also benefit patients if they wish to cosmetically enhance their smile by changing the color or shape of a tooth.
Patients that should consider dental crowns in Virginia Beach are patients that have cracked or chipped a teeth, heavily decayed teeth, or large failing fillings. Also, patients that have small, spaced, or extremely discolored teeth can elect to have crowns done to enhance their smile and bite. Patients that have had implants placed usually require crowns to attach to the implant to offer a biting surface. The standard of care after a root canal procedure is done inside of a tooth is to cover the tooth with a crown. The reason for this is because root canals remove all of the blood and nutrient supply, which makes the tooth become brittle and susceptible to breaking. A crown will help aid in holding the tooth together, preventing breakage or cracking post root canal therapy. It will also give the tooth strength to withstand chewing forces.
The crown fabrication process usually involves two separate dental visits. The first is for preparing the tooth: this means removing any old filling material or decay, then shaving down the tooth by approximately 1-2mm in all dimensions to allow space for the crown to cover. If an excessively large portion of the tooth was damaged from fracture or decay, often the tooth has to be built back up in order for the crown to fit appropriately. This is called a core build up. Two impressions are taken during the first visit. The first is prior to filing down the tooth; it is used to make a temporary crown while the dental lab is fabricating the permanent crown. The second impression is taken after the tooth has been filed down to the appropriate size and shape, so the lab has all of the necessary information to fabricate a crown that fits accordingly to the patient’s mouth and bite.A tooth color, or shade, will be selected and confirmed by the patient. The patient will leave the first appointment with a restored tooth in a temporary crown. These temporaries are not intended to last very long and are only held in place by temporary cement. Approximately two weeks later, the patient will return for the second visit where the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown tried in. An x-ray will confirm proper fit and the patient’s contacts and bite will be checked. Once the doctor and patient agree that the crown looks, fits and feels good, it will be permanently cemented in place.
Crowns have a long lifespan compared to other restorative options such as fillings. On average crowns last about ten years; but this time frame can be elongated or shortened based upon the patient’s care. If proper at home hygiene routines are adhered to and periodic dental visits are made, the lifespan can be much longer than the average. However, if a patient practices poor at home hygiene, has a lousy diet or does not seek routine dental care, this lifespan can be drastically shortened.