Becky Larson, RDH
What is a crown?
Sitting in the dental chair can lead to confusion sometimes. After all, dental professionals speak in an entirely different language! Most patients have had a least a few fillings in their life and know what to expect. However, not everyone has experienced the placement of a dental crown. So what is a crown?
It’s exactly as it sounds. A dental crown in similar to a king’s crown that has a rim the whole way around. Crowns are often referred to as “caps” and are made in the exact shape of the tooth they are covering. Crowns are restorations used to help improve a tooth’s size, shape, strength, and/or appearance. When permanently cemented, they cover the entire tooth to the gumline.
Crowns are indicated for many reasons including:
- To restore a decayed or broken tooth with less than 50% of tooth structure remaining
- To replace large fillings
- To stabilize a tooth that is beginning to fracture
- To hold a dental bridge
- Cosmetic reasons including tooth shape and color
- To cover a dental implant
Crowns are usually placed in two visits. The first visit consists of preparing the tooth (removing decay and building up the tooth if necessary) and placing a temporary crown. Permanent crowns are fabricated in a lab and usually take a few weeks for completion. The second visit consists of placing the permanent crown and taking an xray to ensure proper placement.
There are several different materials that can be used to make a dental crown including porcelain fused to metal, stainless steel or base metals, ceramic or porcelain, and gold. Please talk to your dentist to see which material he/she would recommend for you.
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