If Dr. Greg Williams has recommended the placement of a dental crown, your smile probably needs a little TLC to get it looking, feeling and functioning like before. Unlike a filling, many of our patients may not fully understand the purpose of a dental crown or what the device can do to help restore their smile back to health. So you can better understand why this procedure may be right for you, here’s the basics behind dental crowns.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that Dr. Williams places over an existing tooth damaged by decay or disease to restore the tooth’s size, shape and strength, while also improving its appearance.
When placed and cemented into position, a crown will fully encase the visible portion of a tooth. Any part that appears at or above the gum line will be completely encased instead of your crown.
When is a dental crown needed?
A dental crown offers patients a convenient and lasting solution for replacing a missing tooth or one damaged by decay. Dr. Williams may recommend the placement of a dental crown to patients who need to:
- Protect a tooth weakened by decay from breaking apart or to hold a cracked tooth together.
- Restore a broken tooth back to health or to strengthen a tooth worn down by decay.
- Cover and provide additional support to a tooth that contains a large filling when not enough of a tooth’s natural structure remains.
- Hold a dental bridge into position
- Cover a badly damaged or misshapen tooth
- Cover a dental implant
- Improve the color and complexion of a yellow, gray or blackened tooth.
- Save a tooth so badly damaged by decay it cannot support a filling.
How is a dental crown placed?
Preparing a tooth for the placement of a dental crown typically requires at least two visits to see Dr. Williams. The first visit will involve an examination of the tooth in need of treatment. Dr. Williams may take some X-rays to examine the roots of the tooth and the surrounding bone structure. If the tooth has experienced significant decay or if a risk of injury or infection to the tooth’s pulp exists, Dr. Williams may need to perform root canal therapy prior to placing the crown.
During your appointment, Dr. Williams will prepare your tooth for the placement of a crown. Dr. Williams will start by numbing the tooth and surround gum tissue with an anesthesia. Dr. Williams will then file down the chewing surfaces of the tooth receiving the crown. The amount of surface removed will depend on the size and type of crown being placed. If decay has caused a significant portion of the tooth to erode away, Dr. Williams may need to increase the structure of the tooth first using filling material to support the crown.
Once Dr. Williams has shaped the tooth, he will use a putty or a digital scanner to make an impression of the tooth. Impressions or scans will then be sent off to a dental lab where the crown will be fabricated. Once the crown is ready, you will have a second appointment where the crown will be placed.
Caring for your crown
Once your crown has been placed, it won’t require any type of special care to keep it health and properly functioning. However, while the crown doesn’t require any specialized care, it still needs to be properly cared for with daily brushing and flossing to prevent the development of tooth decay and gum disease. This makes it important that you continue to practice quality oral hygiene practices, which includes scheduling regular exams and cleanings with Dr. Greg Williams.
If you have any questions about dental crowns, make sure to ask any member of our team during your next visit.