A crown, also called a cap, is a man-made cover that protects the top of a tooth. It may be used to restore and preserve a decayed, broken, or cracked tooth. Crowns can also correct some cosmetic tooth problems, giving you a better smile.
The procedure of restoring your tooth with a crown may take 2 or 3 dental visits, and you can expect to wait 2 to 3 weeks between appointments.
The first step in the procedure is preparing the tooth, which the dentist may numb with a local anesthetic. The tooth is then reduced and shaped; if there is any decay on the tooth itself, it is also removed. The tooth may also need rebuilding if larger parts are missing. A mold is taken of the prepared tooth and the surrounding teeth. A temporary crown is then applied to protect the tooth between visits.
Between visits the mold of your teeth is sent to the lab to make your permanent crown. Meanwhile, you should take good care of your temporary crown by following these helpful tips:
- Avoid eating hard or sticky foods.
- Brush gently at the gumline around the temporary crown.
- Carefully floss between your teeth. To remove the floss, pull it out from the side of the tooth, not the top.
The next step in the procedure is to remove the temporary crown and replace it with the permanent crown. The crown is fitted by the dentist and he or she makes sure your bite feels normal.
Once you both agree that the crown fits right, it is cemented in place. Your dentist also makes sure that the shape of your tooth has been restored.