Over time our teeth begin to weaken and become more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks, and discoloration. If you feel your smile isn’t what it once was, crowns can help you recover your old smile. If your dentist notices that a tooth is decayed, weak, or fractured, a crown may be necessary to ensure that there are no additional problems with the tooth. Crowns are recommended when a filling would not be sufficient to restore the tooth.
Crowns can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or gold. To maintain a natural look and feel, a porcelain finished crown is best, as it can be matched to the shade of your other teeth. This will allow it to blend in and appear just like one of your natural teeth.
The process of fabricating a crown takes 2 visits to the dentist. On the first visit, the tooth will be reshaped by filing down the enamel so that the crown can be placed over it. You will be given a local anesthetic before this part of the procedure so that you do not experience any discomfort. Once the tooth has been reshaped, an impression will be taken of that tooth and the surrounding teeth. This impression will be sent to a dental lab so that they can create your new, customized crown. Before leaving, your dentist will place a temporary crown for you to wear until your permanent crown is ready.
The crown takes about 2-3 weeks to be returned to your dentist. When it is returned, you will have another appointment to place and fit the permanent crown. The crown will be placed using an adhesive to ensure that the tooth is permanently fixed in place. Crowns are durable and will usually last about 10-15 years. You should care for it as you would any of your other teeth – with regular brushing and flossing.